Sara Morgan, Erica Ramos, and Richard Van Dyke Cited for Academic Achievements and Community Involvement

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – Three SUNY Orange students each received the State University of New York’s highest student honor Wednesday (April 18) in Albany as Chancellor John R. Ryan formally recognized Sara Morgan, Erica Ramos and Richard Van Dyke with his 2007 Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence during a luncheon in the state capital.

The awards are presented to students who demonstrate success in the classroom as well as significant contributions to their campus or local community. This year, 283 students from throughout the SUNY system were. The Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence was created to recognize students who have best demonstrated, and been recognized for, the integration of academic excellence with accomplishments in the areas of leadership, athletics, community service, creative and performing arts or career achievement.

“We are extremely proud of Sara, Erica and Richard. Their inclusion on this year’s impressive list of winners is a very positive reflection of the hard work, commitment and dedication they have put forth toward becoming successful, well-rounded students,” said Dr. William Richards, SUNY Orange president.

“Recipients of this year’s awards have excelled academically and, in many cases, far exceeded even their own expectations in their pursuit of higher education and community service,” Ryan added. “The Chancellor’s Award for Excellence is given to the best and the brightest students across the SUNY System. I am pleased to see so many recipients this year from nearly all of our campuses. I commend the campus presidents and their faculty and staff for discovering and enhancing student excellence throughout the year.”

Each year, campus presidents establish a selection committee, which reviews exemplary members of their college communities who are graduating. Nominees are then forwarded to the Chancellor’s office and are subject to a second round of review. Finalists are then recommended to become recipients of the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence.

Morgan, a member of the College’s Honors Program with a 3.76 grade point average, is due to receive her Associate in Science degree in biology this May. The Walden resident attended SUNY Orange on a prestigious President’s Scholarship—awarded to only 10 incoming students each year—and has received numerous plaudits for her community service and leadership, including her induction into the College’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa in Spring 2006. She also has received three additional scholarships since arriving at the College.

A peer tutor throughout this current academic year, Morgan also served as an Honors Program orientation leader,
mentoring new students to the campus last August. She’s been an education and project leader for the Orange County Hare Raisers 4-H Club since 2005. Morgan has been active in local church and youth activities while also maintaining a part-time job.

An active leader on campus, Ramos has served as president of Phi Theta Kappa, editor of the College newspaper “The Word,” member of the Student Senate and volunteer member of the Ambassadors, a student organization that assists SUNY Orange’s Admissions Office with special events, outreach and campus tours. She holds a 3.32 GPA in biology and is expecting to earn her Associate in Science degree next month as well.

Ramos, of Rock Hill, has also served in a leadership capacity during the College’s New Student Orientation Program. Prior to enrolling at SUNY Orange, Ramos received the Jake Kriney Family Scholarship, which was given based upon her high school GPA and is a full-tuition scholarship that covers the duration of her studies in a SUNY Orange degree program.

Van Dyke, pursuing an international studies degree, is an Honors Program participant and Phi Theta Kappa member who boasts a sparkling 4.0 GPA. He’s won a pair of scholarships at SUNY Orange, served as vice president of the College’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter and is a student representative to the Honors Program Advisory Board.

To support Phi Theta Kappa’s efforts to raise awareness of prostate cancer, Van Dyke chaired the group’s Car Show Committee, coordinating all details for the September event that raised money for the American Cancer Society. He also completed 45 additional hours of community service required by all Honors Program participants.

At Wednesday’s ceremony, held at the Empire State Plaza in Albany, each recipient received a framed certificate and medallion, which is traditionally worn at commencement. A complete listing of this year’s recipients is available at under “News & Announcements.”

The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive university system in the United States, educating more than 417,000 students in 7,669 degree and certificate programs on 64 campuses.

SUNY Orange Commencement will begin at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 19 on the College’s Alumni Green.

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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940