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June 3, 2004


    OSWEGO -- For members of the SUNY Oswego campus community, the good news is that Jean Conway, assistant athletic director and academic and life skills coordinator for student athletes, earned a Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Professional Service from the SUNY system.

    The bad news is that the award will only grace Conway's Oswego office until the end of summer. Her husband, John, recently accepted a job in Minnesota, and Conway will leave Oswego before fall.

    Conway started as a graduate assistant counseling student athletes from 1993 to 1995 while earning her master's in counseling services at Oswego. She earned her full-time position, focusing on academic advisement and personal counseling and creating support services for at-risk student athletes, after receiving her degree.

    She proposed, developed and implemented such innovative programs as Oswego Athletes Striving to Incorporate Skills for Success, a nationally recognized version of the NCAA Champs/Life Skills program preparing student athletes for successes inside and outside the classroom. She established the Student Athlete Mentor Program, which runs events for local children and fund-raisers for community causes.

    Conway also wrote grant proposals that won funding to cultivate alcohol-free programming including Laker Days, introduce a new student orientation program for student athletes and create for-credit courses that foster personal growth for Oswego students.

    Conway's goal was "to develop a first-rate academic support program for student athletes that would not only serve to help retention and graduation rates, but would also provide students with the consistent guidance needed to develop the leaders of tomorrow," said Laurie Clemo, professor of political science and chair of Oswego's Intercollegiate Athletic Board.

    This vision, Clemo added, become reality because of Conway's "persistence, drive, and genuine concern for students."

    Faculty, coaches, colleagues and students all offered praise for Conway's many successes as well as her caring nature.

    "She is truly an inspiration to me as a future teacher," said Lynn Halloran, a May graduate who served as a teaching assistant to Conway. "I hope that I can establish such bonds with my own students and maintain the sense of passion that is evident in her face as she works with others."

    Earning the prestigious award in her last months here does represent a bittersweet experience, Conway said. "It's wonderful to be acknowledged in this way, but it's sad to leave because I'm going to miss all the people, she said.

    "I am grateful to have had this opportunity to grow so much personally and professionally, and the autonomy to pursue these programs," Conway said. "I think Oswego has given me a lot over the past nine years. I've been happy to give back. This award is just icing on the cake."

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