Congratulations to Abigayle Bennett, Brittany Brainard and Michelle Smetana, who received the 2020 Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence! These outstanding students are extremely involved in campus life, leadership, and have made meaningful contributions both in and out of the classroom.


Abigayle Bennett
Abigayle graduated high school and entered college at age 15. She’s a member of Phi Theta Kappa, and has consistently been on the President’s or Dean’s List. In addition to academic excellence, Abigayle is the elected secretary for Student Assembly, editor and vice president of the Fulcrum Newspaper, president of the Art Club, a psychology tutor, and a notetaker. She was awarded the Involvement in Activism Award, multiple merit scholarships, and is a field advocate for many charitable organizations.

student, Brittany Brainard
Brittany Brainard
Brittany is a hard-working, young woman. She is the mother of three very active boys, and is able to maintain excellent grades in a very rigorous program. Brittany is very committed to becoming a superior PTA. She can regularly be found in the lab studying and/or assisting her classmates. Brittany has incredible attention to detail and will be an excellent clinician. Her maturity and professionalism make her a standout in the classroom.

student, Michelle Smetana
Michelle Smetana
Michelle is a diligent, hard-working, and compassionate individual, who has never let adversity or doubt hold her back from her goals. Despite numerous setbacks, she has always maintained an attitude of readiness to help those less fortunate, and has cultivated the work ethic to make all of her dreams possible. She is a unique and one-of-a-kind person who inspires those around her and brings out the best in others.

State University of New York Chancellor Kristina M. Johnson today honors 213 students from across the state with the 2020 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence. In place of the annual in-person ceremony, Chancellor Johnson and campuses will recognize their achievements via a virtual video celebration to be shared with families, campus presidents, staff, and faculty.

“SUNY’s Chancellor’s Award for Excellence winners are the champions of their campuses, each showing a tireless devotion to their academics and extracurricular pursuits, as well as their care for their fellow students as mentors and leaders,” said SUNY Chancellor Johnson. “They are inspiring, and I have high expectations for how they will contribute to our society as we rebound from this current pandemic that separates us today.”

Each year, SUNY campus presidents establish a selection committee, which reviews the accomplishments of exemplary students. Nominees are then forwarded to the Chancellor’s Office for a second round of review. Finalists are then recommended to the Chancellor to become recipients of the award.

A complete listing of student recipients is available online along with videos from Chancellor Johnson and the awardees.

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