Three SUNY Potsdam Students Honored with 2014 Chancellor's Awards


Three outstanding SUNY Potsdam students were recently among those honored with the 2014 Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence. Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher presented the awards to 274 students in a ceremony at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center on April 4.

"Students honored with the Chancellor's Award for Excellence, and those recognized by Phi Theta Kappa, truly embody the power of SUNY," said Chancellor Zimpher. "As proven leaders and role models, scholar athletes, creative artists and civic volunteers, each student is recognized not just for academic achievement, but also for the profound impact they have on college campuses and local communities across New York State. Congratulations to the SUNY Potsdam students being recognized today."

The SUNY Potsdam recipients included ChaRon Brabham, Kate Clauss and Samantha DiPietro.

ChaRon BrabhamChaRon Brabham is a senior theatre major originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., who now resides in Holly Hill, S.C. She was seen by millions of people worldwide as an Oscar presenter at the 2013 Academy Awards, after winning the Oscar Experience College Search. At SUNY Potsdam, she has served as the captain of the Team NV dance troupe, as vice president of the Black Student Alliance, as an academic peer mentor, writing center tutor and an admissions ambassador. Her theatre credits include directing a short film and one act plays, stage managing the College's Student Choreography Concert and serving as the assistant director for a main stage play. She is currently completing a multimedia internship with the Office of Public Affairs. Following graduation, Brabham plans to enter the entertainment and film industry and hopes to move to Los Angeles to pursue her passion for directing.

"It was an absolutely phenomenal feeling to be recognized by SUNY as a student of excellence. This award confirmed that my hard work and dedication will never go unnoticed, as long as I put my everything into my work," Brabham said.

Kate ClaussKate Clauss is a senior psychology major from Bloomfield, N.Y. She has served as the captain of the Bears Women's Soccer Team and as a member of the College's General Education Committee as an undergraduate. After graduation, she plans to return to SUNY Potsdam for a final semester of research and then will complete a trauma studies certification at SUNY Oswego.

"Receiving this award wasn't something I would have imagined—the students that won were all incredibly accomplished!" Clauss said.

Samatha DiPietroSamantha DiPietro is a senior who is double-majoring in dance and childhood/early childhood education, with a specialization in English. She is from New Hartford, N.Y. As an undergraduate, she has participated as both a dancer and a choreographer in the Student Choreography Concert and the Senior Choreography Concert. Her choreographed work, "Where Have All the Children Gone," was chosen for presentation at the American Colleges Dance Festival Northeastern Conference in 2013. DiPietro has worked as an orientation leader and resident assistant on campus. After graduation, she plans to return to SUNY Potsdam as a graduate student in the College's Education Technology Specialist Program.

"It is definitely an honor to receive the Chancellor's Award, and it is very rewarding to have my hard work and dedication recognized. I am very proud to represent Potsdam," DiPietro said.

The Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence was created in 1997 to honor students who excel academically and show involvement in leadership roles, athletics, community service, creative and performing arts, campus involvement, or career achievement.

Each year, campus presidents establish a selection committee, which reviews exemplary students. Nominees are then 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 is traditionally worn at commencement.

For more information about SUNY Potsdam's remarkable students, visit

Founded in 1816, and located on the outskirts of the beautiful Adirondack Park, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America's first 50 colleges. SUNY Potsdam currently enrolls approximately 4,300 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its handcrafted education, challenging liberal arts and sciences core, excellence in teacher training and leadership in the performing and visual arts. Empowered by a culture of creativity, the campus community recently launched Take the Lead: The Campaign for Potsdam, which aims to raise $27 million by the College's bicentennial in 2016.