Best and Brightest Two-Year Scholars from Mid-Atlantic States to Showcase Academic Excellence June 4, 2010

MIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – Next summer, as SUNY Orange prepares to celebrate 60 years of academic excellence following its founding in 1950, the College will showcase a selection of the finest two-year student scholars in the Mid-Atlantic region when it hosts the prestigious Beacon Conference on June 4, 2010.

The Beacon Conference was established in 1993 to recognize, celebrate and showcase the achievements of outstanding two-year college students in academic research and writing. The conference creates an opportunity for faculty members to mentor students as they begin their education at two-year colleges and features the work of outstanding students in a variety of academic disciplines. SUNY Orange will be hosting the event for the first time.

In preparation for the conference, students work with mentors from their respective colleges to prepare and submit papers that demonstrate outstanding scholarship and originality. All submitted papers are read and the top three papers in each category are selected for presentation. At the conference, presentations are judged on originality and quality of research, written work and oral presentation. A judge for each category chooses the outstanding presenter. Both the outstanding presenter and the presenter’s mentor are recognized at the closing session of the conference and each receives $100.

“There are many remarkable students nationwide who are attending two-year colleges, and the Beacon Conference is a great opportunity for those students in our region to be recognized for their outstanding achievements,” said Dr. William Richards, SUNY Orange president. “We are honored to be hosting the Beacon Conference for the first time. Our faculty and staff will do their very best to make the conference a truly special event for the participants.”

This past June, Thomas Quinn became SUNY Orange’s first “Best of Category” award recipient at the Beacon Conference, earning the top prize for his paper and presentation on “Primates and the Way they Learn,” with special emphasis on chimpanzees. Instructor Dr. Cory Harris was his mentor on the project. Quinn, of Slate Hill, N.Y., graduated in May with a degree in liberal arts.

Quinn attended the College on a President’s Scholarship for Academic Excellence, a full-tuition scholarship given by SUNY Orange to Orange County high school graduates who meet stringent academic requirements. The College issues no more than 10 President’s scholarships per year. Quinn was only the second SUNY Orange student to participate in the conference, following Kathryn Defazio in 2008.

For more information on the conference, visit

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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940