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Two Cayuga CC students recognized by SUNY Chancellor Zimpher

DATE: 04-13-2012

Cayuga Community College students Alicia Frame and Marin Valentino were among the 257 students from across the 64 campuses ofthe State University of New York system who received the 2012 Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence. Valentino was also one of 64 students from across all SUNY and CUNY campuses who were honored during the Phi Theta Kappa Award Ceremony, the national honor society for community college students. SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher recognized the students on April 4 at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center.

“The students we honor today have taken full advantage of the academic and extracurricular programs that SUNY provides both in the classroom and in the community,” said Chancellor Zimpher. “These proven leaders, athletes, artists, and civic volunteers truly represent the power of SUNY. I congratulate all of the students being recognized today and thank them for the positive impact each has had on New York State, our university system, and the communities we serve.”

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.


Frame of Skaneateles completed an associate’s in liberal arts with a theater concentration in January, and matriculated into the bachelor’s in psychology program at SUNY Geneseo this spring.

At Cayuga, Frame started off playing women’s soccer until an injury and the academic challenge of an early graduation impeded her ability to continue to play. She also served as vice president of Phi Theta Kappa and worked as a math tutor and on the Prom Dress Project. But she made her biggest impact as vice president and a standout actor with Harlequin Productions, the College’s theater company.

Last fall, the Theater Association of New York State (TANYS) recognized Frame with several awards, including Excellence in Acting for her portrayal of multiple roles in Spinsters, Therapy, and Going Up. At the TANYS Festival in November, she wonthe People's Choice Award for Outstanding Performance. The previous year, Frame won an Excellence in Ensemble Acting Award for her portrayal in Two Women and a Chair and Meritorious Achievement in Acting Awards for her portrayal in The Matchmaker's Guide to Controlling the Elements.

 “The Chancellor’s Award was a huge step for me and allowed me to look back on my time at Cayuga, and say ‘wow, I did work hard, and yes, it was stressful at times but it all paid off in the end’” Frame said. “I honestly loved Cayuga, and I think it was the best choice for me after high school. I really am grateful for all of the help I received there and the motivation and confidence it instilled in me.”

A 2010 graduate of Skaneateles High School, Valentino of Sennett will graduate with honors in May with an associate’s in math/science liberal arts, with concentrations in chemistry and biology. During her two years at Cayuga, she was an active campus member, serving as president of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and the graphic designer of the Chemistry Club. She also served as vice president of the Tutor Club and chaired the group’s highly successful Warm Coat Drive, An Apple a Day (faculty appreciation event), and the Prom Dress Project. She participated in several leadership training events and was a student panelist at the SUNY ENGINE event at the Tech Garden in Syracuse.

Valentino has received numerous awards and recognitions for her academic and extracurricular accomplishments, including the AP Scholar Award, the Selio and Kathryn DePasquale Science Scholarship, and the Faculty Association Scholarship. She volunteered at the Gordie Edie Daycare Center and the Booker T. Washington Community Center in Auburn.

In the fall, Valentino will head off to the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, where she will be in the Doctorate of Pharmacy program. Her long-term goal is to be part of a research hospital working as a clinical pharmacist, so she can be a part of a hospital atmosphere and take an active role in patient care.

“I am really glad I made the decision to come here as opposed to going away to a larger college or university as I had originally planned,” Valentino said. “My time here made me realize that I do want to pursue being a pharmacist and that I want to be an active member in the community like I have been here for the past two years. It’s a great campus; there are plenty of ways to become involved academically, socially and community wise. Cayuga is a great stepping stone to propel someone into a larger, more competitive program.”

Valentino was also named a PTK All American in spring 2012 and recognized with the SUNY Phi Theta Kappa Award.

The Phi Theta Kappa Award recognizes outstanding community college students throughout the state. The ceremony is sponsored annually by New York Community College Trustees, the New York Community College Association of Presidents, and the Faculty Council of Community Colleges. Phi Theta Kappa is an honor society that recognizes and encourages scholarship among two-year college students. In addition to academic achievement, recipients of the award are also evaluated on their leadership and community service involvement, and are named members of the All New York Community College Academic Team. This year, 54 students will be honored from SUNY Community Colleges and 10 from CUNY Community Colleges.

Both Frame and Valentino will be the featured student speakers at the College Commencement Ceremony at 1 p.m. on May 20 in Spartan Hall on the Auburn Campus.

A complete listing of 2012 Chancellor Award recipients can be found online. A complete listing of 2012 PTK Award recipients can also be found online.

About the State University of New York

The State University of New York is the largest comprehensive university system in the United States, educating more than 467,000 students in more than 7,500 degree and certificate programs on 64 campuses with more than 3 million alumni around the globe. To learn more about how SUNY creates opportunity, visit