The SUNY New Paltz 40 Under Forty awards recognition program honored 40 alumni under the age of 40 who earned a SUNY New Paltz undergraduate, graduate or certificate of advanced study degree and who are innovative leaders in their fields.
Finalists were chosen from a diverse pool of 135 nominees spanning numerous career fields, including education, the arts, science, technology, medicine, business, media and government.
“There was no shortage of well-deserving nominees,” said Shana Circe ’02 (Art Education) ’08g (Visual Arts Education), director of alumni relations. “Our alumni continue to make significant impacts in their communities both professionally and personally. We are very proud of their achievements and commitment to giving back in this way.”
The celebration culminated with an event on June 7, at Novellas in New Paltz. The occasion featured an introduction by Alumni Council President Kevin Sanchez ’15 (Business Administration) and included remarks from Circe, President Donald P. Christian and student speaker Quentin Owusu-Adjei Thomson ’20 (Electrical Engineering).
Many finalists demonstrated a strong entrepreneurial spirit in their work, including; David Walton ’06 (Metal) and Sara Walton ’10 (Visual Arts Education), owners, Hudson Valley Goldsmith; Chris Ganje ’05 (History), CEO and co-founder, AMPLYFI, a business intelligence company; and Lara Hope Levine ’06 (Journalism), award-winning touring musician and band leader of Lara Hope & The Ark-Tones.
Other honorees are groundbreakers in their professions. These include; Eileen (Carpenter) Uchitelle ’09 (Photography), first woman to join the Rugby Core team; Emma (Hempel) Morcone ’11 (Music) ’14g (Humanistic Multicultural Education), Title IX coordinator and first LGBTQ+ coordinator at SUNY New Paltz; and Giancarlo Llaverias ’16 (Communication Studies), first Afro-Latino legislator for Dutchess County District 1.
Honorees were nominated by their peers and faculty members and selected for achievements in their careers and communities. Finalists were determined by the College’s 40 Under Forty Awards Committee, composed of representatives from the College’s senior administration, alumni leadership and faculty.