CORTLAND, N.Y. - The State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) has announced that retired Vice President for Student Development Dr. Steven Perry will receive the Dr. Patrick R. Damore Distinguished Service Award. Perry will receive his honor at the Awards banquet on Tuesday, May 14 during the spring conference meetings at the Embassy Suites in Syracuse.
The Dr. Patrick R. Damore Distinguished Service Award is the highest award given by the conference and honors a retired institutional or conference affiliated individual who has made a significant contribution to the conference and has served the SUNYAC for at least 10 years.
Dr. Perry began his association with SUNY Oneonta in 1984 when he joined the college as the Director of Career Development, Admissions and Academic Advisement. He came from St. Bonaventure University where he served as the Assistant Director of Career Development from 1978-84. Thirty-one years later he retired as the Vice President for Student Development.
Dr. Perry was given direct oversight for the department of athletics in 2002 and proceeded to guide the department through one of its most successful periods in history. Under his guidance, the department flourished while growing in participation numbers. Teams and student athletes earned unprecedented accolades including the college's first team national championship in 2003. His commitment to equity, diversity and a vision for conference success saw Oneonta add men's and women's track and field, which celebrated four individual and two relay national champions during his tenure. He also partnered with the conference to secure an NCAA automatic bid for Field Hockey.
"It was a great honor to be led by Dr. Steve Perry," stated Athletics Director Tracey Ranieri. "His servant leadership allowed Oneonta Athletics to grow, adapt and celebrate some of the best decades in sports history for the college."
"His commitment to the conference was also shown through the improvements to several campus athletic venues that allow for a positive experience when we hosted conference competition," Ranieri continued. "He was a kind leader and mentor. These words ring synonymous with the revered Dr. Patrick Damore, two men who through their care and vision, improved our circumstances exponentially."
Dr. Perry developed and championed "Winning with Character", which has become the mantra of the athletics department. His foresight and proactive approach to his management allowed not only athletics, but all students at the college to thrive. Perry was honored in 1996 with the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Professional Service and, in 2011, he was the recipient of the Ross Cordell Contributors Award from the athletics department. Dr. Perry was an Honorary Inductee into the Athletics Hall of Fame in the fall of 2018.
"Dr. Perry's commitment to a "Win with Character" mentality perpetuated a caring and competitive environment," Ranieri added. "His message was consistent; "achieve at your highest level academically, make good decisions socially, and add this to a dominant work-ethic in your sport, and winning will happen."
Ranieri concluded, "Dr. Perry's passion for the values that athletics aspires to, and the power coaches and administrators have to change lives, was an inspiration. His leadership encourages all of us to emulate the qualities that make SUNYAC great."