MIDDLETOWN – The State University of New York honored SUNY Orange student Danna Nieves Velazquez as one of 42 Norman R. McConney Jr. Award for EOP Student Excellence recipients during an awards dinner October 17 at the SUNY Global Center in New York City.
Nieves Velazquez, of Montgomery, is a business administration student at SUNY Orange who expects to complete her degree requirements in May.
The McConney Award recognizes outstanding SUNY Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) students that are on track to graduate this academic year and who have exhibited academic success, courage, perseverance and leadership qualities throughout their collegiate academic journey. To be eligible for the award, students had to be nominated by an administrator at their institution. One awardee was then selected from the SUNY colleges and universities that offer EOP programs.
“Through the EOP, SUNY has changed the course of so many lives and has given so many students the chance to excel and pursue their dreams,” said SUNY Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson. “We are enormously proud of the students receiving these awards today. Many of them have overcome enormous obstacles to fulfill goals that once may have seemed unattainable. I applaud every one of them for demonstrating perseverance and determination.”
“Congratulations to all the students who are being recognized tonight – your hard work and dedication is inspiring,” added New York State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie. “Education is the key to a successful future, that’s why when I became Speaker, one of my top priorities was supporting opportunity programs for higher education. And every year since we have continued to fight to fund the EOP program, so students from every walk of life have shot at a college education and a bright future.”
Nieves Velazquez is a passionate and engaged student leader who serves as president of the two most prominent student organizations on the College’s Middletown campus: Student Senate and Board of Activities. This past summer, she was one of three SUNY Orange students to attend the Student Global Leaders Experience as part of the SUNY SAIL (Strategic Academic Innovative Leadership) Institute. She is also a graduate of the College’s “I am a Leader” program, a year-long series of workshops and presentations designed to helps students strengthen their leadership skills and build relationships with academic and community leaders.
SUNY Orange’s EOP program is funded through a SUNY grant. It provides access, academic support and financial aid counseling to low-income and academically underprepared students. Students in the program receive comprehensive wraparound services throughout the academic year, including: intrusive advising; career assessment and planning; and financial literacy. Students also have access to a student success coach and a financial aid liaison.