Instagram Combined Shape quotation Created with Sketch. 69

SUNY Potsdam Employees Honored With Chancellor's & President's Awards

June 4, 2018

Chancellor’s Award recipients Ed Portugal, Jessica Haggett and Michael Rygel pose with SUNY Potsdam President Kristin Esterberg (second from left).

SUNY Potsdam recently honored dedicated faculty and staff members with Chancellor’s Awards and President’s Awards at the College’s annual Employee Recognition Ceremony, which also recognizes major milestones and retirements.

This year, three employees received Chancellor’s Awards, while another 12 were honored with President’s Awards.

The Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence are SUNY-level honors, conferred to acknowledge and provide system-wide recognition for consistently superior professional achievement and to encourage the ongoing pursuit of excellence.

“One of my themes for SUNY is individualized education, meaning the work we do to help our students navigate the programs and opportunities within our 64 campuses,” said SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson. “Our faculty and staff educate, inspire, and support our students to pursue their passions; they are the driving force on campus. Those we honor today are leading this effort through their commitment to their craft and their dedication to our students. I am proud to celebrate and honor this year’s recipients.”

This year’s Chancellor’s Award recipients were as follows:

Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Classified Service:

Payroll Examiner 2 Jessica Haggett was recognized for performing her job exceedingly well, and with an incredibly positive attitude. Haggett was honored for her ability to explain the payroll process and details to employees to ensure there is complete understanding and clear up any confusion.

Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service:

Associate Professor of Geology Dr. Michael Rygel was recognized for demonstrating a genuine commitment to outreach and leadership, through his annual recruitment visits to community colleges, his role as an active contributor to the College's efforts to revise and reform the General Education program, and serving as the driving force behind the creation of the College’s new Geographic Information Science (GIS) major.

Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities:

Professor of Business Administration Dr. Edwin Portugal has been an active curator of scholarly efforts, consistently publishing and presenting on the topics of leadership, entrepreneurship and global management, both nationally and internationally. He has served as the co-director of two major grants from the U.S. State Department to form impactful academic partnerships between SUNY Potsdam and colleges abroad.

In addition, SUNY Potsdam honored 12 recipients of the College’s President’s Awards for Excellence, which are campus-level honors for distinguished service and achievement.

“Those receiving 2018 President’s and Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence have shown the highest levels of service to the College, through their outstanding accomplishments, and their devotion to teaching, scholarship and professional service. I am proud to recognize their extraordinary talents and the mark they have made on the SUNY Potsdam campus,” said President Kristin G. Esterberg.

This year’s President’s Award recipients included:

  • President’s Award for Excellence in Academic Advising: Bridges Programming Coordinator Donnita Firnstein
  • President’s Award for Excellence in Auxiliary and College Educational Service: PACES Dining Services/Becky’s Place Chef Benjamin Mitchell
  • President’s Award for Excellence in Clerical Service: School of Education and Professional Studies Secretary 2 Billijean Elliott
  • President’s Award for Excellence in College Service: Associate Professor of English and Communication and Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program Dr. Christine Doran
  • President’s Award for Excellence in Fostering a Welcoming and Inclusive Campus Climate: Director of Tutoring and Peer Academic Support Louise Tyo
  • President’s Award for Excellence in Fostering a Welcoming and Inclusive Classroom Environment: Assistant Professor of Sociology Dr. Anna Sorensen
  • President’s Award for Excellence in Operational Service: Janitor David Thomas
  • President’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service: Interim Director of Residence Life Julie Dold
  • President’s Award for Excellence in Professional Administrative Service: University Police Lt. Shane Ashley
  • President’s Award for Excellence in Professional Administrative Service: TRiO Director Mark Millward
  • President’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities: Professor of Mathematics Dr. Joel Foisy
  • President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching: Assistant Professor of Philosophy Dr. Timothy Murphy

To find out more about employment at SUNY Potsdam, visit

Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges—and the oldest institution within SUNY. Now in its third century, SUNY Potsdam is distinguished by a legacy of pioneering programs and educational excellence. The College currently enrolls approximately 3,600 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its challenging liberal arts and sciences core, distinction in teacher training and culture of creativity. To learn more, visit

For Media Inquiries

Jason Hunter, College Communications (315) 267-2114