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SUNY to honor seven ECC students with 2017 Chancellor’s Award recognition

Article by: Michael Farrell

BUFFALO—Seven SUNY Erie Community College students will be honored with 2017 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence recognition on April 5 at the Empire State Plaza Convention Center in Albany, NY.

This year’s round of ECC students to be honored by SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zimpher are as follows:

• Yasir Ammar Alqaysi

Hometown: Amherst. Major: Liberal Arts and Science.

• Rachael Michelle Battles

Hometown: West Seneca. Major: Early Childhood.

• I’Jaz Ja’ciel Eberhardt

Hometown: Tonawanda. Major: Liberal Arts/Humanities.

• Robert F. Flynn

Hometown: Williamsville. Major: Liberal Arts/Humanities.

• Evan Daniel Gestwick

Hometown: East Amherst. Major: Liberal Arts/Social Science.

• Neal Thomas McCallum

Hometown: Buffalo. Major: Business Administration.

• Hibbah Mojawalla

Hometown: Grand Island. Major: Liberal Arts and Science/Childhood Education.

These students will also be honored at ECC Commencement on Wednesday, May 17 at Buffalo State College. 

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. It is the highest honor bestowed upon a student by his or her SUNY college or university. This year, 256 students from 64 campuses received award recognition.

"It is my honor to celebrate the achievements of students who have surpassed SUNY’s highest standards of academic excellence and leadership both on and off campus," said SUNY Chancellor Zimpher. "Every student we recognize today has demonstrated a strong commitment to their degree program, home campus, greater community, and much more. Congratulations to all of the students receiving this year’s award.”

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.

Since 1946, Erie Community College has met the needs of a diverse student body while contributing to the economic vitality of Western New York. As a member of the state’s SUNY system, the three-campus college provides flexible, affordable and accessible educational programs in an accommodating academic environment. Equipped with the knowledge of these programs, ECC’s faculty, staff and students strive to enrich their host communities through skill, service and partnership. For more information, visit or call (716) 851-1ECC.