Jubilee Contreras '20

At the halftime of each home basketball game, a person or group from within the Siena community is honored with the Siena College Award for Excellence. This award recognizes its honorees for achievements and service.

The award winners for the 19-20 season were:

Gianna Di Gregorio & Zach Brimmer

During the summer holiday, the Siena community suffered a tremendous loss of our former president Brother Ed Coughlin. Once the students returned to campus it was time for the community to grieve the loss and celebrate Br. Ed’s life together. Di Gregorio and Brimmer played an instrumental role in the organization and execution of the day’s events and provided the entire community an amazing opportunity to come together in a time of sadness.

Richard “Bruce” Molitor, Class of 1969

Molitor served a tour of duty in Vietnam as a medical evacuation pilot and supply officer with the 236th Medical Detachment. During his tour, he flew 453 combat missions and evacuated 705 patients from the field. He won numerous awards, including the Air and Army Commendation Medals with Valor. Bruce was inducted into the ROTC Mohawk Battalion Alumni Hall of Fame on November 12. 

Kate Kaufman Burns, Siena’s director of health promotion

In the last two years, Kaufman Burns has single-handedly created the Office of Health Promotion — serving as a campus resource for a range of health-related issues, including healthy relationships, stress management, mindfulness, suicide ideation and much more. She received the Founding Friars award last June.

Ashley Dwyer & Debra Delbelso, Career Education and Professional Development Office

Dwyer and Delbelso have been planning employer site visits consistently throughout the academic year. This initiative allows Siena Saints to network and advance professionally through internship and full-time opportunities.

Dan Moriarty, director of Siena’s Center for Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity

Last May, Moriarty put together Siena’s first-ever Academic Showcase — an unprecedented display of academic pursuit and achievement on the Siena campus. The day saw more than 250 students participating in presentations, sharing a year’s worth of research with hundreds of classmates, faculty, and staff.

John Moustakas, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of physics and astronomy

This September, Moustakas was awarded a new, three-year, $150,000 grant from the Department of Energy to continue his involvement in DESI and to enable undergraduate students to observe with the DESI instrument at Kitt Peak, and to present their work at international meetings. To date, this work has involved more than a dozen Siena undergraduates, several of whom have had the opportunity to travel to world-renowned observatories. 

Lucas Tucker, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry & biochemistry

Tucker wanted to celebrate unsung heroes on campus. His idea led to the bi-monthly award and new tradition at Siena honoring the Saints Among Us. Every other Friday, a specially chosen honoree receives a signed certificate from the President. Also, their picture appears on the route 9 digital message center, and they’re treated to free lunch for two weeks compliments of Siena Fresh. 

Dr. Krysta Dennis, producer of creative arts; Michael Lounello, theater technology manager; Robin Flatland, Ph.D., professor of computer science; Scott Foster, MFA, associate professor of creative arts and department chair

Dennis, Lounello, Flatland, Foster and their dedicated students developed a virtual reality experience for the Underground Railroad History Project. This synergy of technology, history, and creative arts is known as the Living Museum project, which enables users to experience the Stephen and Harriet Myers Residence in Albany as it was in the 1850s as a headquarters for Underground Railroad activity. 

Megan O’Neil '21 & Meredith McElroy '22

As part of the 'Siena Stands' with initiative from the Franciscan Center for Service and Advocacy, O'Neil  and McElroy designed a Friar calendar — highlighting Siena’s mission to give back. 12 Siena friars were featured, each choosing their favorite month.

Leonard Cutler, Ph.D., professor of political science, co-founder of the Summer Legal Fellows Program

Cutler developed the program two decades ago to give students a first-hand taste of legal studies and the work of practicing attorneys. Siena sends rising seniors to partner law schools so they can work under the direct supervision of a law professor while undertaking original legal research. Nearly 200 Siena students have participated in the program over the past 20 years, all under the direction of Cutler.

Jon Bannon, Ph.D., professor of mathematics, and Stephen Deyrup, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry

Bannon and Deyrup were recipients of the prestigious and highly competitive Fulbright U.S. Scholar grant. The Fulbright scholarship aims to further peaceful relations between the United States and other countries, with a focus on academia and international education. 

Spark Tank Winners

Each semester Siena’s Stack Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship allows Siena students to come together and present their ideas for potential products and business plans. The Fall semesters Spark Tank winners were Brandon, Lucas, Zak, Jenna, Jack and Louis who were honored for their hard work, creativity, and passion for entrepreneurship. 

Maggie Madden, Ph.D., interim President

Last summer, Madden’s leadership, and wisdom comforted the Siena community as we grieved the loss of Br. Ed. As interim president, she gracefully steered the College through the unexpected transition and worked tirelessly to advance Br. Ed’s agenda and promote the mission of the College.

Celebrating Women at Siena 

Throughout March, Siena is recognizing the historic impact women have made at the College throughout the month in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the first female day students at the College. One of the signature events is the “Women of Impact” luncheon being hosted at the College on Thursday, March 19. The event includes a cross-generational alumnae panel featuring Siena graduates representing each of the last five decades. Each panelist has made a transformative impact in areas central to the Siena mission: servant leadership, career success, community involvement, and lifetime achievement.

Diana Ostroff, member of City & State’s Women Power 100 list and the managing director of Ostroff Associates represented Siena’s 1990’s.

Allison Turcio, Siena College’s Director of Digital Strategy and soon-to-be Albany Business Review 40 Under-40 class of 2020 inductee represented Siena’s 2000’s.

Tehresa Coles, former women’s basketball standout and current Director for Enterprise Relationship Management at AYCO represented Siena’s 2010’s.