By Denise Richardson
The Daily Star
---- — Nine scholars with local connections have been recognized with SUNY’s highest honor for students.
SUNY Oneonta students from Cooperstown and Delhi are among 243 recipients of the 2013 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence. The annual awards recognize students for academic achievement and integrated accomplishments in other areas, such as leadership, career achievement, campus involvement, athletics, community service or creative and performing arts.
Emily Hunter, a history major from Cooperstown, and Dylan Nealis, an English literature major from Delhi, were among recipients honored by Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher, who presented the awards to students during a reception at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany on Thursday.
Since 1998 when the Chancellor’s Award program was implemented, 70 students from the State University College at Oneonta have been recognized, a media release from the college said.
“We’re delighted that Emily Hunter and Dylan Nealis were chosen to receive SUNY’s most prestigious award,’’ Nancy Kleniewski, SUNY Oneonta president, said in a prepared statement. ``They’ve earned this recognition through scholarship, leadership, and several contributions to our college and community. We’re proud of their accomplishments and the example they set for their peers.”
Hunter, who aspires to a career in academic librarianship, was a moderator in May at the Cooperstown Symposium on Baseball and American Culture in Cooperstown, college officials said, and she has worked in the collections departments of the Milne Library on the SUNY Oneonta campus and the New York State Historical Association Library in Cooperstown.
Nealis has presented papers at several academic conferences on campus, the release said, and in May, he will present a paper titled “Despair, Hope, and the Ethos of the Lost Generation in the Works of Thomas Wolfe and Ernest Hemingway” at the 35th Thomas Wolfe Society Conference in Boise, Idaho.
Four students from two area SUNY schools also were named Chancellor Award recipients this year.
Meghan Wallace of Roxbury and Zhi Li of Fukoka, Japan, were recipients from the State University College of Technology at Delhi.
“Meghan and Zhi were outstanding students who embraced SUNY Delhi’s commitment to community service,” said President Candace Vancko. “I am pleased to see that their exceptional achievements have been recognized by Chancellor Zimpher.”
Wallace, a liberal arts major, earned through academic performance at Roxbury High School a Presidential Scholarship to attend SUNY Delhi, where she has excelled academically, served in student government and volunteered in many capacities on and off campus, a release said.
Li graduated with an associate’s degree in business administration. He earned a Student Life Citizenship Award that recognized his selfless contributions to campus life and in communities beyond, a release said, and he was an orientation leader for Japanese students and a volunteer tutor.
Recipients from the State University College of Agriculture and Technology at Cobleskill were Maii Zikry, from Cairo, Egypt, a bachelor of science major in communications, and Marten Peterson, a bio-technology bachelor of science major from Oswego.
“SUNY Cobleskill is honored to have them receive Chancellor’s Awards for Student Excellence,” said Steve Ackerknecht, vice president for student affairs at SUNY Cobleskill, said in a statement. “Maii and Marten have distinguished themselves as exemplary student leaders who are role models for the entire campus community.”
Other recipients with local connections were Celina Furman of Norwich, a student at the State University College at Potsdam, and Gwendolyn Nieves of Sidney, a student at Broome Community College, and Shane Delameter of Arkville, a student at Herkimer County Community College.
Each year, campus presidents establish a selection committee, which reviews exemplary students, SUNY officials said. Nominations are forwarded to the Chancellor’s Office and are subject to a second round of review. Finalists are then recommended to the Chancellor to become recipients of the award. Each recipient receives a framed certificate and medallion, which traditionally is worn at commencement.
*Editor's Note: This story was changed at 9:35 a.m. April 12 to correct the number of local students who were honored and to add a name of one of the students honored.