Fredonians receive SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence

Marketing and Communications staff
 Amanda Keppel and Chloe Kowalyk at the awards ceremony with the Chancellor and Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Tracy Stenger

 Amanda Keppel (left) and Chloe Kowalyk at the awards ceremony with Chancellor John B. King Jr. and Fredonia Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Tracy Stenger

State University of New York Chancellor John B. King Jr. awarded 193 students from 62 campuses SUNY’s highest honor for academic excellence and leadership at a ceremony on April 11, including SUNY Fredonia seniors Amanda Keppel and Chloe Kowalyk.

Keppel, a senior from Clarence, NY, and a graduate of Clarence Central High School, will receive concurrent degrees in Communication Disorders and Sciences (CDS) and English at Commencement, summa cum laude, and has a School and Counseling Psychology minor. They were the recipient of scholarships through the Fredonia College Foundation including the Gustave and Geraldine Werner Scholarship awarded to a Communication Disorders and Sciences student who demonstrates a high degree of scholarship and potential; the Culver Wollaston Scholarship for students who are active within the LBGT+ community, and the Dean’s Scholar Award. In addition, they have been on the Dean’s List every semester at Fredonia, and was inducted into the Psi Chi national honor society in psychology, and the Sigma Tau Delta national honor society in English. Keppel has also served as a Resident Assistant, a peer tutor in the Learning Center, and held leadership positions in organizations including the Fredonia Pride Alliance, Resident Assistant Advisory Board, the Fredonia chapter of the National Student Speech Language and Hearing Association, Fredonia Feminists and Comic Culture Forum. They also served on the College of Education Student Advisory Board, developed and assisted in presenting a continuing education workshop on Gender Affirming Voice Therapy, and participated in undergraduate research in the Department of English focusing on the experiences of trans and non-binary teachers. After graduating from SUNY Fredonia, Keppel plans to pursue a master’s degree in Speech Language Pathology.

Kowalyk is a senior with a double major in Communication: Journalism and Psychology, with minors in English and Political Science, and completed the Honors Program at SUNY Fredonia. Originally from Depew, NY, and a graduate of Depew High School, Kowalyk will be the first in her family to graduate from college, making her academic and campus experiences especially important. She was named to the Dean’s List every semester at Fredonia, is a member of the Lambda Pi Eta honor society in communication, and was the recipient of the Fredonia College Foundation’s President’s Award for Excellence Scholarship, the Louis C. and Dr. S. David Adler Scholarship, the John Saulitis Friends Fund Scholarship, the Elizabeth Scarborough Award, the Donald John Lehr Teaching Award, the Robert Rie Scholarship, the Kara Grace Hall Memorial Scholarship, the Charlotte Putnam Landers Scholarship, the Bruce Klonsky Psychology Award and the Anthony J. Ellis Scholarship. She has been very active in student media at SUNY Fredonia, serving as editor in chief, managing editor and a news reporter for The Leader student newspaper; a writer, producer, radio host, and station manager at Fredonia Radio Systems, a news anchor and producer for the student-run WNYF-TV. She has served in leadership/public relations positions in Lambda Pi Eta, Psychology Club, and Fredonia Radio Systems, and is a Presidents Ambassador. Kowalyk has been a writing and psychology tutor in the campus Learning Center, a teaching assistant in the Department of Communication and a learning assistant in the Department of Psychology, and conducted undergraduate research under the direction of Dr. Jack Croxton. After graduating, she plans on attending law school in pursuit of her goal to become an attorney and provide legal aid to women in need. 

During the recognition event in Albany SUNY Chancellor King noted, “There is a place at SUNY for every New Yorker, and each year we come together to herald and celebrate the achievements of a diverse group of some of SUNY’s most accomplished students. This year’s winners include first-generation students, researchers, a single mother and grandmother, a cancer survivor, international students hailing from over 16 nations, athletes, and a student who worked with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center — among so many more with inspiring stories of excellence in the classroom and beyond. It is my honor to celebrate the achievements of the nearly 200 awardees as they inspire others and illustrate what is possible with a SUNY education.” 

The year’s awardees represent each sector of SUNY including:  

  • 47 students from the four university centers 
  • 21 from other research and doctoral granting institutions
  • 36 from comprehensive colleges
  • 16 from technology-focused colleges
  • 73 from community colleges 

The awards event keynote speaker was Saad Hajidin, a 1988 SUNY Potsdam graduate and the founder and creative director of inPhorm, an international designer, active, and lifestyle brand dedicated to sustainable production and empowering responsible consumers to choose products that are eco-forward.  

Hajidin noted, “I'm incredibly honored to be a part of this celebration of excellence at SUNY, an institution that has transformed the lives of nearly three million graduates across its 64 campuses. From pioneers like Jef Raskin, who revolutionized technology with the Macintosh project, to artistic icons like Renee Fleming, SUNY fosters a remarkable range of talent. Today's Chancellor's Awards recipients are joining a legacy of innovators, leaders, and changemakers who have left their mark on every field imaginable – scientists, doctors, authors, astronauts, journalists, and even Hollywood stars. SUNY's commitment to exceptional education empowers its graduates to achieve greatness, and I'm thrilled to be here to recognize their outstanding accomplishments.”


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