SUNY Chancellor’s Award Winners Honored at SUNY Canton Commencement

SUNY Canton will be honoring four faculty and staff members alongside nearly 900 graduates at its 108th Commencement Ceremony.

Commencement will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, May 7, at SUNY Canton’s Roos House Convocation, Athletic and Recreation Center.

Among those receiving special recognition this year are:

  • Michelle CurrierMichelle L. Currier, director of library services, received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service for helping to transform Southworth Library Learning Commons into one of the best libraries in the SUNY System. Among other improvements, Currier has increased the library’s technology offerings by adding iPads, expanding the electronic textbook collection and increasing the number of circulating laptops. She has engaged students through the use of platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and SoundCloud. Currier has also met student requests for expanded library hours on weekends and 24-hour availability during midterms and finals. As a result of improved customer service, the library won the prestigious Joseph F. Shubert Excellence Award from the New York State Regents Advisory Council on Libraries, in addition to becoming the highest-ranked library as determined by students in the SUNY-wide student opinion survey.
  • William JonesAssociate Professor William T. Jones, J.D., received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service. Jones teaches in the Business Administration and Legal Studies programs and is also the chair of the Business Department. He has become one of the college’s top advocates for Native American students. He helped orchestrate the first-ever round table discussion with members of the Six Nations tribes to help envision and guide the creation of a Haudenosaunee University. He is the faculty advisor for the new Native American Student Association and the men’s soccer team. Jones’ educational and professional careers have been built on public service. Prior to joining SUNY Canton, he held faculty positions at SUNY Oswego, was a law enforcement officer with the Sackets Harbor Police Department, was a New York State certified police instructor and a corrections officer.
  • Umesh KumarAssistant Professor Umesh Kumar received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities for his role as a collaborative scholar. Kumar teaches in the Finance program and recently advocated for and assisted with the design of the college’s Business Learning Center, which employs new technology to help students analyze stock market data in real time. He’s held in high regard for helping students develop a comprehensive understanding of the financial industry. He also led the creation of the Investment Club, which has allowed more than 600 students to gain real-world investing experience. He has won four awards from the Academy of Business Research with collaborator Brian K. Harte, Ph.D. Together, they have presented research related to retirement investing and the financial implications of corporate crime. His work has also been published in a number of peer-reviewed journals, including Climate and Development, the Journal of Future Markets, and the Global Finance Journal.
  • Di ParaProfessor Diane J. Para, Ph.D., received the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. In addition to her faculty position, Para is the director of the Sports Management and Health and Fitness Promotion programs. She was nominated by her peers for this award for enriching athletic and academic experience for students during her 27-year career at the college. Prior to her academic career, Para served as the college’s athletic director and helped lead the transition from a two to a four-year athletic program. She was a member of the design team for the college’s Roos House Convocation, Athletic, and Recreation Center and was instrumental in advocating for facility improvements such as a new turf field, baseball field and softball field. She earned the SUNY Canton President’s Meritorious Service Award in 2007.

For more information about SUNY Canton’s Commencement, visit

About SUNY Canton

SUNY Canton is Northern New York’s premier college for career-driven bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees and professional certificate programs. The college delivers quality hands-on programs in engineering technology, health, management and public service and recently received number one rankings in library resources, library services and tutoring services in the SUNY Student Opinion Survey. The college’s faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as ten exclusively online bachelor’s degrees. The college’s 15 athletic teams compete as members of the NCAA Division III.

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