SUNY Potsdam Student Earns Prestigious Shining Star Award


President Schwaller and Faye Lamar, SSS academic skills/tutor coordinator, presented Natalie Francis of the Bronx, N.Y., with the 2012 Student Support Services Shining Star Award.

SUNY Potsdam student Natalie Francis, a senior from the Bronx, N.Y., recently received the Shining Star Award, the highest accolade given every year by the College’s Student Support Services.

Francis was among nearly 100 SUNY Potsdam students who were honored for their academic achievements during the Fall 2011 semester by Student Support Services at its annual student awards reception.

The Shining Star Award is presented annually to the senior that best epitomizes the SSS maxim of a “commitment to excellence.” Francis was presented with this award in recognition of her dedication and diligence toward achieving her degree. Graduating this May with a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology, she plans to continue her studies toward a master’s degree in the field.

In addition to the Shining Star Award, special acknowledgement was given to 19 students who achieved the President’s List and to 18 students who made the Dean’s List. Also recognized for their outstanding work with SSS participants were eight peer tutors and three peer mentors.

Nominated by SSS participants for their significant and positive contributions to student success, seven faculty members received the SSS Students’ Choice Award. The recipients were Dr. Walter Conley, professor of biology; Faye Lamar, academic skills and tutor coordinator; Dr. Donald McNutt, assistant professor of English and communication; Dr. Anthony Molinero, associate professor of chemistry; Michele Pinard, clinical faculty member of curriculum and instruction; Shailindar Singh, director of Bridges and the Educational Opportunity Program, and Dr. Richard Williams, associate professor of psychology.

Biology Professor Dr. Walter Conley provided special remarks as the honored speaker. He encouraged the students in attendance to apply themselves rigorously to their academic studies, to enroll in courses outside their major and most importantly, to pursue a career in a field for which they have a real passion.

At SUNY Potsdam, Student Support Services serves 200 students throughout each year, providing the academic and personal support necessary to help eligible students remain in college and reach graduation. SSS is a TRIO program funded by the U.S. Education Department.

For more information, please call SSS at (315) 267-2347 or 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 4,350 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.