Three SUNY Orange students receive prestigious award

MIDDLETOWN – SUNY Orange students Chantal Fairclough and Jennifer Zimmerman, along with December graduate Giovanna Cala, have been selected as recipients of the 2020 State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, as announced recently by Chancellor Kristina Johnson.

In all, nearly 250 students from across the SUNY system—from four-year and community college campuses—were recognized.

“Giovanna, Chantal and Jennifer represent the very best of our collective student body,” said Dr. Kristine Young, SUNY Orange president. “Each, in her own way, has positively impacted our College community, as well as our community-at-large. Their academic success is a testament to their hard work and commitment, but their selfless efforts to improve the lives of their classmates, families, neighbors and friends is what stands out to me. They are to be commended for what they have achieved, and they are each bound for greater successes.”

“SUNY’s Chancellor’s Award for Excellence winners are the champions of their campuses, each showing a tireless devotion to their academics and extracurricular pursuits, as well as their care for their fellow students as mentors and leaders,” Johnson added. “They are inspiring, and I have high expectations for how they will contribute to our society as we rebound from this current pandemic that separates us today.”

Cala, a resident of Port Jervis who was homeschooled in high school, graduated in December summa cum laude with her associate’s degree in liberal arts. She is currently enrolled at Queens College pursuing dual majors in education and history with the hopes of becoming a high school teacher in history or biology. During her time at SUNY Orange she was a student senator, actively involved in student clubs, and served alongside faculty and staff on the College’s awards, sustainability and curriculum committees. She completed the ECCEL leadership program in partnership with the Eleanor Roosevelt Center in Val-Kill, and completed the SUNY SAIL leadership seminar during the summer of 2019. She and her fellow SUNY Orange ECCEL students helped the College establish its Food Pantry. She was also a member of the Honors Program and the Phi Theta Kappa honor society.

A resident of Newburgh, Fairclough is an active member of the SUNY Orange Honors Program and received the Presidential Honors Program Scholarship for Outstanding Academic Achievement. She will graduate with a liberal arts degree, having focused on chemistry. She was inducted into the College’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter and served one year as a student senator and member of the Student Success Committee. She was also an Honors Program peer mentor, a peer tutor, secretary of the Multicultural Club and an active volunteer for the Liberty Partnership Program.

Zimmerman, who resides in Walden, will graduate with a degree in nursing. She has been a regular member of the Dean’s List and participated in the nursing and Christian student clubs. While enrolled at SUNY Orange, she worked as a Certified Nursing Assistant at Bon Secours Community Hospital in Port Jervis and the Fishkill Center for Rehabilitation and Nursing in Beacon. She volunteers regularly for many groups and families. She has been a team leader at the New York State Sheriff’s Association summer camp for underprivileged children. She volunteers many hours per week at the Walden Bruderhof Community and has cared for children with disabilities. She is also a member and soloist in a Gospel Choir that has performed at many churches and secular venues.

The Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence was created in 1997 to recognize students who have best demonstrated, and have been recognized for, the integration of academic excellence with accomplishments in the areas of leadership, athletics, community service, creative and performing arts, campus involvement, or career achievement.

Each year, SUNY campus presidents establish a selection committee, which reviews the accomplishments of exemplary students. Nominees are then forwarded to the Chancellor’s Office for a second round of review. Finalists are then recommended to the Chancellor to become recipients of the award.

A complete listing of student recipients is available online at https://system.suny.edu/university-life/student-excellence/.



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