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April 9, 2014

SUNY Optometry Student Honored by Chancellor

SUNY College of Optometry student Kevin Willeford received the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence during a ceremony with SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher in Albany on April 2. Originally from Easton, PA and a graduate of the University of Miami in Florida, Willeford received his MS in Vision Science from SUNY Optometry last year and is a member of the OD program’s Class of 2014. This summer he’ll begin the PhD in Vision Science program at the College.

Chancellor's Award recipient Kevin Willeford (center) with Chancellor Zimpher and Mr. Vito Cavallaro, SUNY Optometry's director of financial aid

“Students honored with the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence truly embody the power of SUNY,” Chancellor Zimpher said. “As proven leaders and role models, scholar athletes, creative artists, and civic volunteers, each student is recognized not just for academic achievement, but also for the profound impact they have on college campuses and local communities across New York State.”

During his tenure at SUNY Willeford has worked closely with faculty members Dr. Kenneth Ciuffreda and Dr. Jerry Rapp, co-publishing research with both of them. He has a particular interest in the electrophysiology of the brain and the role that visual attention plays in learning disabilities. He has also published work on the relationship between age-related macular degeneration and smoking.

“I see the Chancellor's Award as recognition of my hard work over the past four years and I’m humbled to receive it,” Willeford said. “I hope I can continue to represent SUNY Optometry with similar honors in the future.”

The Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence was created in 1997 to recognize students who have best demonstrated, and have been recognized for, the integration of academic excellence with accomplishments in the areas of leadership, athletics, community service, creative and performing arts, campus involvement, or career achievement. This year 274 students from across the 64 campuses of the SUNY system received the award.

“We’re exceptionally proud of what Kevin has achieved during his time at the College,” SUNY Optometry President David A. Heath said. “His accomplishments in both our professional program and our graduate program make him a great representative of the excellence that we consistently strive for at the College.”