Area Resident Brandon Herwick Receives SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence

Related Media

Brandon Herwick

CORTLAND, NY (04/12/2010)(readMedia)-- Brandon Herwick, a Coxsackie, N.Y., native, was one of four SUNY Cortland seniors honored on April 6 in Albany, N.Y., with 2010 State University of New York Chancellor's Awards for Student Excellence.

"The 228 students we honor today have excelled academically and taken advantage of what SUNY has to offer outside the classroom," said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher as she recognized students from the 63 SUNY campuses throughout the state during the ceremony in Albany, N.Y. "These students are proven leaders, athletes, artists, community servants and much more. Congratulations to all of the students receiving today's award and thank you all for your genuine dedication to student excellence."

The recipients were honored for integrating academic excellence with accomplishments in leadership, athletics, community service, creative and performing arts or career achievement. This year's honorees have an overall grade point average of 3.8.

To the SUNY Cortland community, Herwick brings to life the College's Red Dragon mascot, aptly named "Blaze."

But it's not all fun and games for this senior physical education major, who has maintained a 3.63 grade point average during his two years at the College and will graduate in May. The National Association of Sports and Physical Education (NASPE) honored him as its Major of the Year in March for his excellent academic achievement, exemplary leadership and involvement, and demonstrative dedication to the fields of health, activity and fitness.

A promising scholar in his chosen field, Herwick delivered four presentations at two New York State Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (NYSAHPERD) conferences and recently was slated to give another for the national association.

"I think physical education is an elemental part of a child's education," Herwick says. "It's something that needs to be set up early so that it can be continued for life. Especially with the obesity epidemic, it's important that we get inside of schools and we teach students how to be confident in their abilities."

In March 2008, Tau Sigma, the academic honor society for transfer students, initiated Herwick, who attended Hudson Valley Community College (HVCC) before Cortland, as a member. A resident assistant on the campus, Herwick was recognized last spring with an Academic Excellence Award by the Residence Life and Housing Office.

Herwick serves as president of the Alliance of Physical Education Majors Club and the Cortland Table Tennis Club, participates on the Student Activities Board, and volunteers for Habitat for Humanity. He has offered his time and talent to several efforts on behalf of individuals with physical challenges.

This spring, he student-teaches at V.W. Becker, an elementary school in Ravina-Coeymans-Selkirk (N.Y.) School District, and Catskill High School. He'll continue his studies toward a graduate degree in adapted physical education.

"SUNY Cortland is one of the premiere, if not the premiere, New York state physical education schools and it definitely ranks among the top in the nation, if not the world," said Herwick, noting that he was inspired to transfer to SUNY Cortland by Thomas Rogan '66, a Cortland alumnus and his professor at HVCC. His mother, alumna Denise Sonustun Herwick '86, was another influence.

"I think the teachers are very diverse at Cortland and what makes the program so great is how the professors can bring so many different aspects to one profession."

With this year's awards, 56 SUNY Cortland students have earned a Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence since the program was created in 1997.

Each year, SUNY campus presidents establish a selection committee to review outstanding graduating seniors. The nominees are forwarded to the Chancellor's Office for a second round of review and a group of finalists is selected. Each honoree received a framed certificate and a medallion that is traditionally worn at commencement. A complete listing can be viewed at: