Social Work, School of Liberal Arts

Heads or tails, high-performing members of the Siena community will come up winners with the College’s new Presidential Medal for Excellence awards.

The numbered coins were recently introduced by President Chris Gibson ’86 Ph.D. to honor Siena students, faculty, staff and alumni who have “truly excelled or offered an extraordinary performance.”

Gibson explained his inspiration for the awards:

“It’s a longstanding tradition in the military to present a commemorative coin to celebrate a superior performance,” he said. “It’s a symbol of the utmost respect for how someone has done their job, and how they are living their lives. The College’s Presidential Medals will celebrate excellent work by those who truly embrace Siena’s values.”

The green enameled coins are two inches in diameter and are embossed with the Siena logos and our core values: “Person-Centered. Lifelong Learners. Inclusive. Compassionate Leaders. Innovative.” The first awards were presented June 25 to Mackenzi Flynn (above, left) ’21 and Diana Procopis ’21 (above, right) for their year-long field placement work to raise awareness about sexual assault. 

Flynn and Procopis, both social work graduates, became certified as peer educators through the One Love Foundation, which allowed them to give training to their Siena peers about the difference between healthy and unhealthy relationships. They helped organize the virtual "What Were You Wearing?" exhibit for Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month in April, and they also partnered with CPT Robin MacHattie and the New York Army National Guard to create weekly virtual presentations to be sent out via email to National Guard troops. 

They were nominated for the award by Captain MacHattie, who in addition to her National Guard duties is the administrative coordinator for the College’s social work department. 

“Diana and Kenzi worked tirelessly to create a fresh and engaging virtual campaign for SAAPM,” she said in her nomination letter to President Gibson. “Because their educational materials were sent from the adjutant general’s office, they were seen by the majority of our 10,300 Army forces as well as our 6,000 Air members. Their impact was vast, and we would not have been able to pull off such a visually appealing and content-rich campaign without their efforts.” 

Nominations for a Presidential Medal of Excellence can be submitted to any Cabinet member.