Press Releases

For Immediate Release: April 4, 2012

Contact: Heather Meaney, (518) 381-1250

SCCC Students Chosen for SUNY Chancellor's Awards for Excellence and NYCCT Phi Theta Kappa Awards

Schenectady County Community College congratulates three SCCC students who were honored with statewide awards during ceremonies today in Albany, N.Y.

Noney Grier, Chemical Dependency Counseling major, and Matthan Bird, Human Services major, were chosen as recipients of the State University of New York Chancellor's Awards for Student Excellence.

SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher honored the two SCCC student leaders, as she presented the prestigious awards to 257 students from campuses across the SUNY system on April 4, 2012.

The SUNY 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.

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.

Noney Grier is a Navy Veteran who now works as a Vocational Rehabilitation Specialist at the Albany Stratton VA Medical Center, helping homeless veterans achieve their independence by assisting them with vocational issues. While at SCCC, Noney was President of the SCCC chapter of Student Veterans of America and worked in the College's Veterans Affairs Office. Her greatest passion is assisting fellow veterans and while at SCCC, Noney tirelessly worked to connect veterans with resources and a network of support to help them in the transition from military life to college life. She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa international honor society and a recipient of the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Student Excellence.

Matthan Bird is a Navy Veteran who was instrumental in the establishment of the SCCC Office of Veterans Affairs. He has assisted many SCCC student veterans with the guidance and referral services needed to assist them in their transition to civilian and academic life. While at SCCC, Matthan served as a student leader as a Senior Senator with the Student Government Association, President of the Student Activities Board and President of the SCCC chapter of the Student Veterans of America. He has also earned academic honors and scholarships and has been named to the College's Dean's List. His community service includes collecting items for the YWCA Women's Domestic Violence Shelter and toys for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots and Student Veterans of America Toy Drive.

Noney was also chosen from among the top academic scholars at SUNY community colleges to be named to the Phi Theta Kappa All New York Community College Academic Team, along with Scott S. Riggi, Alternative Energy Technology major. Both students were named to the third team.

Phi Theta Kappa is an honor society that recognizes and encourages scholarship among two-year college students. In addition to academic achievement, recipients of the award are also evaluated on their leadership and community service involvement, and are named members of the All New York Community College Academic Team. This year, 54 students were honored from SUNY community colleges and 10 from CUNY community colleges.

Scott Riggi is a returning adult student who, prior to attending SCCC, served six years in ministry, managing an international non-profit humanitarian aid organization that shipped donated aid to countries worldwide, as well as to those in the United States following Hurricane Katrina and those in need locally. He worked for 17 years in the manufacturing industry earning the "Chairman's Award of Excellence." Scott is a 10th generation Schenectadian, an inventor who received a U.S. Patent in 2007, a skilled musician and a founding member of Natasha's Justice Project created to end the nation's rape kit backlog. He earned a Certificate in Storage Battery Technology from SCCC in May 2011.

The Phi Theta Kappa Award Ceremony is sponsored annually by New York Community College Trustees, the New York Community College Association of Presidents, and the Faculty Council of Community Colleges.

"The students we honor today have taken full advantage of the academic and extracurricular programs that SUNY provides both in the classroom and in the community," Chancellor Zimpher said during the ceremony at the Empire State Plaza. "These proven leaders, athletes, artists, and civic volunteers truly represent the power of SUNY. I congratulate all of the students being recognized today and thank them for the positive impact each has had on New York State, our university system, and the communities we serve."


One of the 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, the nation's largest comprehensive system of higher education, Schenectady County Community College in upstate New York enrolls over 7,000 students. SCCC offers more than 40 career degree, transfer degree and certificate programs. The College opened its doors for classes in 1969 and continues to provide affordable comprehensive higher education and adult educational opportunities in response to local educational needs. To learn more, visit

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