Cristy Dwyer with her husband Hugo
(LAKE PLACID, N.Y. – Oct. 13, 2012) Cristy Dwyer, a SUNY Empire State College student and alumna, ’08, ’10, and a classically trained pianist who worked with the Rolling Stones and Frank Zappa while in the rock-and-roll business, has come a long way from Southern California.
Dwyer is the first student from the college to receive the annual ACT Excellence and Student Initiative scholarship for SUNY comprehensive colleges given by the Association of Council Members and College Trustees of the State University.
“The college has helped me and tens of thousands of others actualize our full potential while we continue to contribute to the quality of life for our communities, the state and the nation,” said Dwyer. “I am very grateful to ACT President Pierre Alric, Scholarship Committee Chairman Frank Pagano and all the members of the council for this award and to the faculty at the college, especially Professor Roxana Toma, for their support and encouragement.”
Cristy Dwyer, Hugo Dwyer speak with ACT's Frank Pagano.
“Cristy Dwyer’s outstanding record of academic achievement and service to the community has earned her the ACT scholarship award for students at SUNY colleges,” said Pierre Alric, president of SUNY ACT. “Meeting with Cristy Dwyer and our four other scholarship winners was an honor and a privilege and we look for many more achievements from such talented, motivated individuals.”
Dwyer was honored at the annual ACT conference recently held in Lake Placid. She was accompanied by her husband and fellow alumnus Hugo Dwyer ’06 whom she credits with inspiring her to return to college.
Dwyer is about to earn a master’s degree from the School for Graduate Studies, her third from the college. For the last 12 years she worked as a behavioral-health care provider at an inpatient substance abuse facility at a midtown Manhattan hospital where she served the homeless of New York City, many of whom are HIV infected.
There she became an advocate for the underserved, a role she continues today.
“Seeing firsthand how effective treatment could restore people to productive and meaningful lives and reunite families was an extraordinary experience,” said Dwyer.
In 2007, she left her position at the hospital to pursue her undergraduate degrees as a full-time student. At that time she began work as a part-time faculty course designer and educator for the Alcoholism Council of New York’s credentialed alcoholism and substance abuse counselor training program.
In addition to her work at the alcoholism council, she volunteers as New York state coordinator for VOR, a national grassroots organization, dedicated to ensuring the civil rights of individuals with profound and severe intellectual and developmental disabilities while she also serves on the environment, public safety and public health, and social services and education committees of Manhattan’s Community Board 2.
Cristy Dwyer with Mary Caroline Powers, a vice president of the college
“Cristy Dwyer came to the college as a highly accomplished working adult to help her realize a long-held dream of earning a college degree,” said Mary Caroline Powers, the college’s vice president of the Office of Communications and Government Relations, who attended the event with Dwyer. “All of her academic accomplishments have not kept her from her career, her civic obligations and her sense of responsibility to society and now comes this statewide and very significant honor. All of us at the college take pride in Cristy and we appreciate that SUNY ACT does too.”
Dwyer’s master’s thesis research is on long-term unemployment, especially among people ages 55 to 64.
Her associate GPA was 4.0, her bachelor’s was 3.97 and she was named the recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence in 2010, the highest student award SUNY bestows.
In December, when she will have her Master of Arts in Social Policy conferred, she also will be presented with the Dean’s Medal and the Roger Keeran Outstanding Scholarship Award from the college’s School for Graduate Studies.
Media contact: David Henahan, director of communications
518-587-2100, ext. 2918