New Paltz wins two SUNY Outstanding Student Affairs Awards

SUNY New Paltz’s Division of Student Affairs was honored with both a program and a professional award at the annual College Student Personnel Association of New York State Conference on Oct. 17.


From left: Michael Taberski, Vice President of Student and Campus Life, SUNY Geneseo; Robin Cohen-La Valle, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, SUNY New Paltz; Stephanie Blaisdell, Vice President for Student Affairs, SUNY New Paltz


Robin Cohen-La Valle wins new John Graham Award for Mentorship

Robin Cohen-La Valle ’77 (Psychology) ’82g (Psychology), assistant vice president for student affairs and dean of students, received the new John Graham Award for Mentorship, which recognizes the impact that mentors have on those who enter the student affairs profession.

The new award is named for the late John L. Graham, SUNY’s first-ever Student Advocate and former Officer-in-Charge at SUNY Potsdam, who was known by colleagues as a dedicated mentor and ally for a generation of student affairs professionals whose work was made better by his influence.

A two-time New Paltz alumna and licensed mental health counselor, Cohen-La Valle has consistently demonstrated this commitment to sharing professional wisdom and expertise with colleagues across generations. One colleague who submitted a letter in support of her nomination wrote that “Throughout her 30-plus years of work in higher education at SUNY New Paltz, everyone who has ever met Robin would attest that she embodies the tenants that Dr. Graham espoused: mentorship, scholarship, and impact.”

A former SUNY Chancellor’s Award recipient, Cohen-La Valle’s many contributions to student life at the College include her efforts to support student success through the upholding of community standards on the Judicial Committee, her contributions to touchstone programs like First-Year Orientation and events for parents and families, and her work to engender a safe community environment for students through drug and alcohol abuse prevention programs and agreements with local tavern owners, among many others.

She is also an active professional and citizen outside of her activities at the College, as she maintains multiple community organization affiliations and SUNY and statewide leadership roles.


Bubble Car Brain Busters wins for best Student Mental Health & Wellness program

The College was also honored in the Outstanding Student Affairs Program Awards, taking home top honors for Mental Health, Student Health, Wellness, Counseling & Related Programs for our Bubble Car Brain Busters.

This fun program sees Student Affairs personnel driving around campus in Bubble Cars, challenging students with trivia questions about health and well-being, and awarding prizes to those who answer correctly.

Bubble Car Brain Busters is a collaborative project sponsored by Jaclyn Cirello, the Coordinator of Wellbeing Initiatives & Outreach, as well as the Center for Student Engagement, the Title IX Coordinator and the University Police Department.