Two Students Receive SUNY Chancellor’s Award

MIDDLETOWN – SUNY Orange student Lucia Vanella and recent graduate Djean Nikitov De Poi were named as recipients of the 2024 State University of New York (SUNY) Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence during a ceremony on Thursday (April 11) in Albany.

In all, 193 students from 62 two-year and four-year campuses across the SUNY system were recognized by Chancellor John B. King Jr. Founded in 1997 as SUNY’s highest honor given to students for academic excellence and leadership, the Chancellor’s Award recognizes students for their outstanding achievements throughout their SUNY experience in areas including academics, leadership, campus involvement, community service and the arts.

Djean Nikitov De Poi was presented with an award during ceremony in Albany.
Djean Nikitov De Poi was presented with an award during ceremony in Albany.

“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,” King said. “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 CASE awardees as they inspire others and illustrate what is possible with a SUNY education.”

Nikitov, a native of Montevideo, Uruguay, now resides in Middletown. He completed his business management degree at SUNY Orange this past December, graduating summa cum laude. In addition to serving as Student Trustee, he was a member of the student-run Board of Activities and Student Senate, worked as a student ambassador with the Admissions Office, was a peer orientation leader for the SUNY Orange PROSPERAR program (a federally funded Title V initiative), and was a member of the Business Club.

Last year, Nikitov joined two of his fellow SUNY Orange senators as they participated in the SUNY Student Assembly’s “Advocacy Day” in Albany, joining their classmates from across SUNY to call upon state legislators for support. The students requested that the state increase Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) income eligibility, increase the minimum TAP award, increase TAP and Excelsior Scholarship funding, and increase funding for on-campus mental health services. Today, he is exploring education options to further his goal of working in a sports-related role.

Vanella, of Warwick, is pursuing a liberal arts degree with an emphasis in mathematics. A member of the SUNY Orange Honors Program for two years, she joined the Honors advisory board during the summer of 2023. She served in the Student Senate as a senator at large and co-founded the College’s book club, where she is currently treasurer.

A recipient of the President’s Honors Scholarship, awarded in the fall of 2022 and renewed in 2023, Vanella has received academic achievement awards in philosophy and interdisciplinary studies. She has also received a recognition award for outstanding service contributing to the improvement of campus life through the participation of the I Am a Leader Program at SUNY Orange. She plans to return to SUNY Orange after graduation to pursue a second degree in engineering.

SUNY Orange offers nearly 40 degree and certificate programs housed within seven academic communities: Arts and Media; Business; Culture, Society and the Mind; Education and Human Services; Health Sciences and Wellness; Justice and Community Engagement; and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).

Print Friendly, PDF & Email