Melvin J. Busler, Jr., the longtime sports personality of WWNY-TV 7 News, has been selected as the 2017 recipient of the SUNY Canton College Council’s Distinguished Citizen award.
“Mel has become the face and voice of televised sports in the North Country,” said College Council Chair Ronald M. O’Neill. “He’s generous with his time, and he takes great pride in the North Country.”
Busler was nominated for the award after volunteering extensively with area charitable organizations, including Meals on Wheels, the Victims Assistance Center of Jefferson County and the Disabled Persons Action Organization (DPAO), among numerous others. He will receive his award at the annual Faculty and Community Awards Dinner held Thursday, May 11, at SUNY Canton.
“Every disabled person who has met Mel comes away with the feeling that they have just met a long-lost friend,” said DPAO Respite Coordinator Terri A. Fulmer. “One individual told me ‘his smile always seems to make things right’.”
A Watertown native, Busler graduated from Immaculate Heart Central in 1977 and attended Jefferson Community College. He began his broadcast career with WATN radio in 1978 and joined WWNY-TV four years later. He became the full-time sportscaster on the evening news in 1984.
“Mel continues to use his celebrity [standing] to help, support and lead many different organizations here in the North Country,” said American Cancer Society Community Executive Director Don Boshart.
WWNY-TV News Director Scott D. Atkinson said Busler’s community connection is one of the reasons the local newscast is so popular.
“Mel delivers for Meals on Wheels, hosts Relay For Life events and serves as master of ceremonies for countless charity events,” Atkinson pointed out. “People can tell when someone’s the real deal, and they know they’ve got that in Mel – and that’s before you talk about all the local athletes he reports on in sports. We’re lucky to have him.”
He has won awards from the New York State Broadcasters Association, Associated Press and the Syracuse Press Club for his area sports coverage. He’s been inducted into the Red and Black Football Hall of Fame, the American Football Association Hall of Fame and the Jefferson Community College Hall of Fame. He’s also received the Immaculate Heart Central School Gala Award for Community Service and the Macsherry United Way Community Spirit Award.
About the Distinguished Citizen Award
The SUNY Canton College Council bestows this citation in recognition of exceptional, unusual and distinguished service to the college, to the community, to the State, or to the nation. It is awarded annually at the sole discretion and judgment of the College Council.
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 13 exclusively online bachelor’s degrees. The college’s 15 athletic teams compete as members of the NCAA Division III.