SUNY Orange professors Dr. Melody Festa and Dr. Elizabeth White were feted at the College’s Commencement ceremony May 19th as they each received the 2012 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence, one of the highest honors presented to community college faculty within the State University of New York.

The Chancellor’s Award is bestowed annually upon those faculty members who have excelled within the classroom. During the recent Commencement ceremony, Festa and White received the customary medal that is presented to winners of the Chancellor’s Award. Recipients are permitted to wear the medal during all future ceremonies in which they wear formal academic regalia.

Melody Festa

“These awards underscore SUNY’s appreciation of faculty and staff who serve our campuses and students with absolute excellence,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher.

“Dr. Festa and Dr. White have demonstrated extraordinary dedication and service to SUNY Orange and are highly deserving of this distinction.”

Festa has held a variety of roles as both a faculty member and administrator at SUNY Orange. She joined the College’s biology faculty in 1999, teaching a wide array of general and advanced biology courses. She served as chair of the Biology Department from 2001-2004 while jointly chairing the Laboratory Technology Department in 2003-04. Festa was associate vice president for the business, math, science and technology division from 2004 until returning to the classroom full-time in 2009. She now teaches at the College’s Newburgh campus.

White recently concluded her 21st year as a business professor at the College. She has taught a variety of business courses throughout her tenure at the College. This past semester she taught Introduction to Business, Business and Society, and Entrepreneurship courses. White serves on the Finance Committee of the College Association and has maintained membership on numerous college-wide, departmental and advisory committees. She also works closely with students outside of the classroom as a co-advisor to the Business Club.

By virtue of receiving this year’s Chancellor’s Award, Festa and White follow recent colleagues who also were cited by the chancellor for teaching excellence: Lucinda Fleming and Monte Vacura in 2010, Jean Halpern and Thomas Stack in 2009, Dr. Karen Stephens and Stephen Winter in 2008, and Joan Siegel in 2007.

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