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Two awarded prestigious Lanford Presidential Prize at SUNY Fredonia
Saturday, May 15, 2010

Mrs. Esther Lanford joins John Gradel and Julie Graham, the 2010 recipients of the Lanford Presidential Prize from the Oscar and Esther Lanford Endowment of the Fredonia College Foundation during a luncheon on Commencement Saturday.

SUNY Fredonia seniors John R. Gradel and Julie M. Graham are the recipients of this year’s Lanford Presidential Prize from the Oscar and Esther Lanford Endowment of the Fredonia College Foundation. Both recipients will receive their awards at SUNY Fredonia’s annual Commencement ceremonies, being held tomorrow in Steele Hall on the Fredonia campus.

Mr. Gradel will be honored at the morning ceremony and Ms. Graham at the afternoon ceremony.  The award — generously created and endowed by the late President Emeritus Oscar E. Lanford and Mrs. Lanford — recognizes a member of the graduating class who has exhibited balanced achievement and exemplifies Fredonia’s ideals. Only once before, in 1997, have two recipients been named in the same year. Mr. Gradel and Ms. Graham will each receive a medal and monetary prize.

Mr. Gradel will graduate summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a double major in History and Social Studies—Adolescence Education.  He has shown tireless leadership since coming to Fredonia as a freshman from Endicott, N.Y. Some of his many campus activities include serving as co-chair of the Senior Challenge Committee, a member of the Faculty Student Association Board of Directors, chair of the Diversity Awareness Committee, class representative to the SUNY Fredonia University Senate, chair of the Spectrum Entertainment Board, and serving as a College Ambassador and campus tour guide.

Mr. Gradel received his medal and certificate from SUNY Fredonia President Hefner during the morning ceremonies.

Student Affairs Vice President David Herman lists Gradel as one of the “most outstanding student leaders” he has known over his 40-year career which has spanned four campuses. “John is one of those truly exceptional students who handle the pressure of academics and leadership seamlessly, performing at the highest levels in everything that he does.”

Gradel was recently honored with the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence last month, and has also received the David E. Manly Scholarship, John and Helen Mancuso Scholarship, and the Marc Cohen Student Association Award. In addition, he was named to the Golden Key International Honour Society, Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education, and Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society.  After graduation, he plans to pursue a master’s degree in Student Personnel at Bowling Green State University after serving as a summer orientation leader at SUNY Fredonia.

Ms. Graham, from Elmira, N.Y., will graduate summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. Some of her many campus activities include serving as president of the Biology Club, sophomore class president and Student Association representative. She has also been involved with Rotary International’s youth leadership program, the Chemistry Club, and the Advanced Leadership Development Program.

Biology Chair Patricia Astry says Graham has been one of the “shining stars” of the department. “She is an outstanding student — passionate in her pursuit of knowledge and always challenging herself to move to a higher level of achievement.”

President Hefner presented Ms. Graham with her Lanford designation during the afternoon ceremonies.
Graham was one of a small group of students selected to participate in a new honors-format Cancer Biology Seminar that required extensive independent research.

“Julie performed at the level of a graduate student. Her contributions to the seminar and her formal presentations were outstanding,” Astry said.

Ms. Graham also received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, was named SUNY Fredonia Residence Life Student of the Month, and received Rotary Youth Leadership Awards (Rylarian and Rotary International), the Adele Maytum Hunter Scholarship, Keeper of the Dream Scholarship, and the Dallas and Elizabeth Beal Award. In addition, she was named to the Alpha Lambda Delta National Honor Society and Golden Key International Honour Society. Ms. Graham, who recently completed an internship at Brooks Memorial Hospital, has been accepted into the State University at Buffalo’s School of Pharmacy.

Other graduating seniors nominated for the Lanford Prize include English major Susan Kornacki from  East Aurora, N.Y.; Christine Caranante, a Music Education major from  West Islip, N.Y.; Jonell Belcher, a Criminal Justice major from  Bloomfield, N.Y.; Music Performance major Stephen Brew from Churchville, N.Y.; Teresa McCarthy, an Interdisciplinary Studies – Arts Administration major from Rochester, N.Y.; and Samantha Smith, a Social Studies – Adolescence Education major from Silver Creek, N.Y.

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