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2020 SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence

The Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence acknowledges students who have received recognition for distinguished achievements. It is the highest honor bestowed upon a student by the University. This year, 213 students from 64 campuses will receive this award with four from RCC.

Nominations are sought for students who have best demonstrated and been recognized for their integration of academic excellence with other aspects of their lives including leadership, campus involvement, community service, arts (creative or performing), athletics, and/or career achievement.


Matheus MeloMatheus Bussolotti Damasceno Melo

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Business Administration - Honors Track

Matheus came to Rockland Community College from the Favelas of Brazil, where he was the victim of crime and hardships. As soon as he landed at RCC, Matheus took advantage of every opportunity to become a model citizen and make an impact. A superior student with a 3.8 GPA, Matheus’ story is the story of SUNY transforming individuals and communities.

“The programs and clubs at RCC gave me the connections and motivation to pursue my education and the discipline to achieve my goals,” said Matheus.


Thomas LeonardThomas Leonard

Stony Point, New York
Liberal Arts and Sciences: Mathematics and Science Honors Track

Thomas is the epitome of a community college success story. After having social and academic struggles in high school, Thomas has served as a champion for RCC and the value of a community college education. Acting as the College’s student trustee and representing his fellow students, he has worked on financial, legal, and other matters with the rest of the RCC Board, all while maintaining a 3.95 GPA.

“In just two years, I went from the kid who scraped by in high school to achieve the highest honor for a SUNY Student,” said Thomas. “Studying at RCC has been the best decision I ever made and has left me ready to impact my community for years to come.”


Austin MillerAustin Miller

Millerton, New York
Criminal Justice

Austin is a first-generation non-traditional student. He grew up in a small rural town and joined the United States Navy upon graduation from high school. After more than five years of service, in which he performed base security in numerous locations across the United States, Austin enrolled at RCC to start a new life. He has excelled beyond measure, achieving a 4.0 GPA.

“At RCC, all of my professors had knowledge from actual experience, which will pay off exponentially in the real world,” Austin said.


Alanna WamsleyAlanna Wamsley

Nanuet, New York
Performing Arts MTH/Liberal Arts and Sciences - Humanities and Social Science Honors

Alanna is a remarkable student and performing arts champion. A student in countless RCC Performing Arts Department productions, Alanna is the president of the RCC Campus Players, a student group dedicated to the performing arts. Alanna excels in the classroom with a 3.8 GPA in RCC’s competitive Honors Program, and serves as a tutor in the RCC Tutoring Center.

“RCC has prepared me to be real-world ready by giving me the opportunity to stand on my own two feet,” said Alanna.



Previous Recipients