Alumni & Friends
Awards For Alumni And Friends

Heritage and Alumni Award recipients will be presented with their awards during Alumni Reunion 2021 held in October. We invite alumni, faculty and staff, and friends of the College to submit nominations in all categories. Nominations will be accepted until June 24, 2021.


Categories and Criteria

Heritage Awards: Recognizes an alumnus/a or alumni couple and a faculty/staff couple or individual, whose devotion to the ideals of the College serve as extraordinary examples to the entire New Paltz community.

Alumni Professional Achievement Award: Recognizes alumni who have achieved distinction in a chosen profession or outstanding lifetime achievement. Submit a nomination. 

Distinguished Alumni Service Award: Recognizes alumni volunteers who have made exceptional contributions in support of the activities of the SUNY New Paltz Alumni Association. Submit a nomination. 

Friends of the Alumni Association: Recognizes individuals (non-alumni) who have made exeptional contributions in the engagement of alumni in the life of the College. Submit a nomination.


Recent Award Recipients


Gerald Sorin, Honoree Emeritus Distinguished Professor of History

Heritage Award Recipient

Honoree Emeritus Distinguished Professor of History Gerald Sorin joined the SUNY New Paltz faculty in 1965 as a specialist in American society and politics, with particular interest in the abolitionists and abolitionism. More than 50 years later, he has become an internationally recognized authority on American Jewish history and one of the most decorated members of the New Paltz faculty.



Honorees Renee Padmore-Baccus ’91 (Black Studies; Psychology) and Dion Baccus ’92 (Business)

Heritage Award Recipient

Honorees Renee Padmore-Baccus ’91 (Black Studies; Psychology) and Dion Baccus ’92 (Business) have lived a life deeply rooted in service to others. Throughout their professional careers, volunteer organizations and relationship with SUNY New Paltz, they work to improve their communities and the world around them.



Leslie Gordon ’93 (Sociology)

Alumni Professional Achievement Award

Honoree Leslie Gordon ’93 (Sociology) is president and CEO for Food Bank for New York City, one of the nations’ largest food banks distributing nearly 100 million pounds of food a year to New York city residents. For more than a decade, Gordon has led efforts to feed our neighbors in need in New York City and surrounding communities. Most recently she served as president and CEO of Feeding Westchester, Westchester County’s largest anti-hunger organization.



Glenn Geher, professor of psychology

Friends of the Alumni Association Award Recipient

Glenn Geher is professor of psychology as well as founding director of Evolutionary Studies at the SUNY New Paltz.



Bradley Diuguid ’07 (English)

Distinguished Alumni Service Award

Virtual Presentation: Zoom Essentials

Diuguid is a professor of theater and education at SUNY Sullivan and program manager at the Hudson Valley Writing Project.





Missy Graff-Ballone ’13g (Metal)

Distinguished Alumni Service Award

Virtual Presentation: Alleviating Tech Neck While Working from Home

Ballone is the Founder of Wellness for Makers! Her mission is to motivate and empower creatives through education, mindful-living, and movement!



Gorgette Green–Hodnett ’91 (Black Studies)

Distinguished Alumni Service Award

Virtual Presentation: At Home Living and Learning

Gorgette is an instructional resource teacher, teacher empowerment thought leader and host of” Real Talk, Real Time” with Chandra and Gorgette, a virtual event series about educators.



Jennifer Haefele, RDN ’12 (Anthropology; Communication Media; French)

Distinguished Alumni Service Award

Virtual Presentation: Intuitive Eating & Nutrition: A Conversation

Haefele is a registered dietitian nutritionist who specializes in nutrition for eating disorder recovery and intuitive eating.



Lester Mayers ’19 (Theatre)

Distinguished Alumni Service Award

Virtual Presentation: Writing Through Trauma: SUNY NP Alumni Creative Writing Zoom Session

Mayers is a published writer, poet, director, commencement speaker and Black vernacular master preserver. He is a current MFA candidate at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, Naropa University, Boulder, Colorado.



Destiny Moore ’13 (Psychology)

Distinguished Alumni Service Award

Virtual Presentation: Journaling Through Anxiety

Moore is a New York State licensed social worker, college access and success professional and founder of Loved by Destiny (LBD), a wellness resource & blog for “beautiful souls” looking to thrive.



Kelly A. Murphy ’13 (Anthropology)

Distinguished Alumni Service Award

Virtual Presentation: Balancing Stress with Seeds of Ayurveda: SUNY NP Healing Session

Murphy is an ayurvedic health counselor, yoga teacher and light worker guiding and inspiring clients to nurture a lifestyle of health, peace and balance within and with the world around them.



Lana Pasqual ’11 (Communication Disorders) and Nia Thomas ’11 (Black Studies, Communication Disorders)

Distinguished Alumni Service Award

Virtual Presentation: Education, Equity + Excellence during COVID-19: A Workshop and Q&A

Pasqual is a special education teacher in New York City, where she dedicates her time to creating space that empowers underrepresented people—students and colleagues.

Thomas is a school-based bilingual speech-language pathologist, educator and storyteller.



Juan-Carlos Piñeiro ’07 (Psychology)

Distinguished Alumni Service Award

Virtual Presentation: Mindfulness Now: SUNY NP Alumni Mindful Zoom Session

Piñeiro is an educator, performing artist, motivational speaker, certified yoga teacher and mindfulness/personal development coach.




Jason Valentino ’07 (Marketing)

Distinguished Alumni Service Award

Virtual Session: Financial planning that’s as unique as you are: A SUNY NP Alumni Q&A Zoom Sessions 1, 2 and 3

Jason is a certified financial planning specialist with Gravatt Financial and Northwestern Mutual. He holds his series 6, 63 and 65 investment licenses, as well as his life, accident and health license.



Heritage Award Recipients

2020 - Alumni: Dion Baccus '92 and Renee Padmore-Baccus '91 | Faculty/Staff: Gerald Sorin
2019 - Alumnus: Harry Bonsu '90 | Faculty/Staff: David Eaton and Linda Eaton
- Alumni: Everton Henriques '78 '83g and Jeannie Irvine '78 | Alumni: Bruce Orenstein '68 and Sandra (Schwartz) Orenstein '67 | Faculty/Staff: Gail Gallerie | Faculty/Staff Dr. Giancarlo Traverso 
2017 - Alumna: Robin Cohen-LaValle '77 '82g | Alumna: Susan Najork '67 '70g | Faculty/Staff: Dr. Louis Saraceno and Frances Saraceno | Faculty/Staff: Dr. A.J. Williams-Myers  
2016 - Alumna: Mary Kastner '71 | Faculty/Staff: Prof. Joseph C. Paparone
2015 - Alumna: Onika Jervis '93 '05g | Faculty/Staff: Prof. William B. Rhoads 
2014 - Alumnus: Antonio "Tony" Bonilla '87 '05g | Faculty/Staff: Prof. Ronald Knapp 
2013 - Alumni: Robert "Bob" Thorn '66 '70g & Jane (Hausz) Thorn '68 | Faculty/Staff: Linda Delgado-Baker '84 '86g & Prof. Douglas Baker
2012 - Alumni: Robert "Bob" Mountz '68 '71g '80cas and Henrietta (Thomas) Mountz '68 '71g | Faculty/Staff: Dean Robert Michael '75 cas
2011 - Alumna: Sadie (Stellefson) Penzato '66 '68g '76cas | Faculty: Prof. Heinz Meng (deceased)
2010 - Alumna: Rosemarie (Mainberger) McBride '60 '68g | Faculty/Staff: Prof. and Mrs. Karl Budmen (deceased)
2009 - Alumnus: Alan Dunefsky '69 '91g | Faculty: Prof. Ray Snider
2008 - Alumnus: Prof. Joseph Castellana '48 (deceased) | Faculty: Prof. 0. Lin coin "Lin" Igou (deceased)


Alumni Award Recipients

2020 - Alumni Professional Achievement Award: Leslie Gordon '93 | Friends of the Alumni Association Award: Glenn Geher
Distinguished Alumni Service Award: Mary Elizabeth Bannon '81 | Alumni Professional Achievement Award: Kevin Zraly '74
Distinguished Alumni Service Award: Patricia (Gisin) King '60 and Rosemarie (Mainberger) McBride '60 '68 | Alumni Professional Achievement Award: Marc Warren '68 and Dennis Rinsler '68 
Distinguished Alumni Service Award: Camille Jacobs '91 | Alumni Professional Achievement Award: Dr. Neyooxet Greymorning '73 
2016 - Distinguished Alumni Service Award: Robert "Bob" Thorn '66 70'g | Alumni Professional Achievement Award: Col. Joseph D. Davidson '90. 
2015Distinguished Alumni Service Award: Amber Greene '03