March 21, 2018

Rose Stevens Receives Excellence in Support Services Award

Rose Stevens is flanked by Officer in Charge Mitch Nesler and last year's winner Kathrine Lytle.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – March 22, 2018) Rose Stevens, unit secretary for SUNY Empire State College’s Utica location, was the recipient of the Empire State College Foundation Excellence in Support Services Award given at All College 2018 in Saratoga Spring, N.Y.

“Without our support staff the college could never operate at the level required, said Vice President for Advancement Walter Williams. “Our support staff are often the unsung heroes of Empire State College, and it is my pleasure to recognize Rose Stevens for the invaluable role she has played in Utica.”

“We are fortunate to have so many talented staff members working at this college and I realize what an honor it is just to be nominated for the Excellence in Support Services Award," Stevens said. “Nonetheless, to have my name called to come up to the stage to receive the award brought on a flood of emotions and a sense of sincere gratitude.  It was a feeling that will stay with me forever.”

Stevens was described by colleagues as the “heart and soul” of the Utica location. Among her superb qualities is an ability to be welcoming to students and staff alike. One colleague said, “From her first day at the college, it was apparent that she understood the importance of a handshake and warm smile.”

Faculty mentor Roz Dow pointed out that, “Rose has mastered all the intricacies of support staff work.” That includes improving communications with students through updated email lists, and helping to keep faculty up to date with technology by coaching them and implementing a shared calendar. She also provides the increasingly diverse student body the care and attention that they seek. Because the area is diversifying with more immigrants enrolling and is drawing a younger student body, Stevens tailors her response to each unique situation.

Stevens also has taken a leading role on committees and in the location’s secretary group. She was proactive when the location renovated, coordinating all aspects of the renovation and helping to move the contents of faculty offices and reconnecting phones and computers.

One colleague said Stevens is famous for the outings she organized for alumni and staff, such as a bus trip to New York City, cruises along the Erie Canal, annual graduation recognition dinners, brewery tours, theater trips, a wine-tasting train ride and many student art receptions.

Faculty mentor AnaMaria Ross said, “Her concern and passion for the wellbeing of students and colleagues is evident in everything she does.” When a colleague from a neighboring location had to be out of the office for several weeks, Stevens pitched in “without a single hitch, answering calls from students, coordinating invitations for new student orientation and scheduling all of the students who called for appointments.” Therefore, mentors were able to seamlessly continue in their duties.

Mentor Roz Dow concluded, “She has the expertise of a professional office manager, keeping us on task and managing our schedules. Rose has become an invaluable, equal part of our team.”

About the Excellence in Support Services Award

Criteria for the Foundation Award for Excellence in Support Services include superb performance in fulfilling the duties in the job description, demonstrated flexibility and adaptability to institutional needs, and excellence in the areas of leadership, decision making and problem solving. Additional criteria may include initiation of ideas or development of proposals for improving effectiveness in the position.

About SUNY Empire State College

Empire State College, the nontraditional, open college of the SUNY system, educates nearly 18,000 students worldwide at eight international sites, more than 30 locations in the state of New York, online, as well as face to face and through a blend of both, at the associate, bachelor’s and master’s degree levels.

The average age of an undergraduate student at the college is 35, and graduate students’ average age is 40.

Most Empire State College students are working adults. Many are raising families and meeting civic commitments in the communities where they live, while studying part time.

In addition to awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college pairs each undergraduate student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout his or her college career. 

Working with their mentors, students design an individual degree program and engage in guided independent study and course work onsite, online or through a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to choose where, when and how to learn.

The college’s 78,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more.

The college was first established in 1971 by the SUNY Board of Trustees with the encouragement of the late Ernest L. Boyer, chancellor of the SUNY system from 1970 to 1977.

Boyer also served as United States commissioner of education during the administration of President Jimmy Carter, and then as president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

 More information about the college is available at