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SUNY Canton students honored with Chancellor’s Awards


CANTON - A student who helped build a primary school in South Sudan and the SUNY Canton men’s ice hockey captain each received a Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence.

“The students we honor have strong records of achievement as student leaders, scholar athletes, aspiring artists and community volunteers,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher at the awards ceremony in Albany. “By exhibiting excellence in class, on campus and in their local communities, these students truly represent the power of SUNY and we honor them with great pride.”

Zachery J. Smith, an Industrial Technology Management major from Lisbon, was a recipient of the Canino Scholar Award and the college’s Academic Award in recognition of holding the highest grade point average while he was in one of the college’s certificate programs. Smith is also the bachelor’s-level Outstanding Graduate for the year and will be honored at SUNY Canton’s Commencement Ceremony.

“I will earn three degrees in eight semesters when I graduate in May,” Smith said. “To achieve this, I’ve taken large class loads during regular semesters and additional classes during Summer Session and Winterterm.”

Smith also designed, engineered, managed and led the building of a training facility and primary school in South Sudan in the spring of 2012 through a Christian organization. “My faculty adviser thought this project would fit well within my academic studies,” he added. “Upon graduation, I hope to return to Central Africa, employing the skills I’ve acquired at SUNY Canton to lead further humanitarian and development projects.”

He was the vice president of Campus Ministries Club and won a certificate of appreciation from the Christian Fellowship Center in Madrid.

John Payne, a Sports Management major from Manchester, N.H., and originally from Port Moody, B.C., was the men’s ice hockey captain from 2011 to 2013, and was among the select few players to reach 100 goals during his SUNY Canton hockey career. He was vice president of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee and a member of the Intercollegiate Athletics Board and the president of the Sports Management Student Association.

He received Academic All-American awards from three conferences and received the Chancellor’s Scholar-Athlete Award in 2012. He was the recipient of four scholarships through SUNY Canton foundation.

“John’s leadership skills extend beyond the ice and locker room,” said Matthew G. Metcalf, assistant athletic director. “He always volunteers and participates in community service projects in the local community.”

His volunteer work included community service projects as part of the Roos Give Back program, volunteering at the Grace Episcopal Church’s Friday Soup Kitchen meal and participating in the Reading Roos program at local elementary schools.

Payne is currently interning with the Manchester Monarchs of the American Hockey League.

The Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence was created in 1997 to recognize students who have best demonstrated, and have been recognized for, the integration of academic excellence with accomplishments in the areas of leadership, athletics, community service, creative and performing arts, campus involvement, or career achievement.

Each year, campus presidents establish a selection committee, which reviews exemplary students. Nominees are then forwarded to the Chancellor’s Office and are subject to a second round of review. Finalists are then recommended to the Chancellor to become recipients of the award. Each recipient receives a framed certificate and medallion, which is traditionally worn at commencement.

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