SUNY Orange Program Celebrates Diversity and Achievement; Awards Banquet Set for March 6

>>2009 Sojourner Truth Award recipients

PHOTO: Dominic CarterMIDDLETOWN, N.Y. – SUNY Orange will formally recognize 640 local students attending Orange County schools for their achievements in a variety of educational areas when the College hosts the awards banquet for its 20th annual Sojourner Truth Awards Program at 7 p.m., March 6 in the Physical Education Building. Snow date for the program is 1 p.m. March 7.

The Sojourner Truth Awards Program hails students from grades 6 through 12 who have demonstrated skills in areas such as language arts, mathematics, sciences, performing and media arts, athletics, citizenship, and perseverance/effort. The program aims to promote education in a positive manner and motivate students to consider college as a viable and attainable goal. The honored students will receive Sojourner Truth recognition certificates during the awards ceremony.

Dominic Carter, renowned news reporter and anchor from metro television outlet NY1, will serve as keynote speaker while Dr. Connie Sims will serve as guest speaker to commemorate the event’s 20th occurrence.. Sims’ husband, the late Dr. Joseph Sims, initiated the College’s Sojourner Truth Awards (originally named the “Black Achievement Recognition Award Program”) in 1990 during his tenure as SUNY Orange’s Dean of Students. In the past decade alone, the program has highlighted the achievements of approximately 5,000 Orange County students.

As host of NY1’s nightly political show, “Inside City Hall,” Carter has handled some of the station’s most challenging assignments, including the events of Sept. 11, 2001, and has interviewed every major political player in the state, as well as many national and international leaders. The veteran newsman has also covered every national political convention since 1988 and has been a fixture at NY1 News since the news channel launched in 1992. He just recently released his autobiography, “No Momma’s Boy” to critical acclaim. The book chronicles his triumphant struggle to overcome his mother’s mental illness while growing up in a Bronx housing project.

Carter’s numerous exclusive interviews include former President Bill Clinton and Nelson Mandela during Mandela’s historic visit to the United States—an interview he conducted as thousands of journalists from around the country pursued the South African president. He has reported extensively from abroad, including having traveled with former New York City mayors David Dinkins and Rudy Giuliani.

Carter received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from SUNY Cortland and attended graduate school at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications before starting his career in radio. Carter has also received an Honorary Ph.D from the City University of New York.

In his free time, he passionately speaks to various groups about succeeding in life against the odds. He talks candidly about his life story and his rise in broadcast journalism and often speaks to youth groups about the importance of education and achievement. He has received the Samuel P. Peabody Award from the Citizens’ Committee for Children for his vision, innovation and dedication to children and families. He has been recognized by numerous professional organizations, including the New York Press Club and Associated Press, during his outstanding career.

In addition to speeches and the awards ceremony, the evening’s program will feature entertainment by AndJam Band and well as a presentation of the colors by the Middletown High School Junior ROTC.

Sojourner Truth, for whom the program is named, lived in the mid-Hudson Valley after escaping from slavery. She is hailed as one of the most distinguished and highly regarded women of the 19th century. Born Isabella Bomefree (later spelled Baumfree) about 1797 in Hurley, N.Y., Isabella was sold four times, until she and her daughter were given their freedom in 1828. Isabella spoke low Dutch until she was about 10 years old and never learned to read or

In 1843 she changed her name to Sojourner Truth to better reflect her chosen missions of traveling to show people their sins and telling them what is true. Sojourner Truth is often referred to as one of the most effective and powerful
speech-makers of her time.

Corporate funding for the program and awards banquet comes from presenting sponsor Orange & Rockland Utilities. Supporting sponsors are Provident Bank, Affinity Health Care and the Educational Foundation of SUNY Orange. To learn more about this program, visit SUNY Orange’s Sojourner Truth web site at, call the Office for Student Services at 341-4000 or e-mail event coordinator Belen Medina at

2009 Sojourner Truth Award recipients


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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940