June 3, 2013

Susan Dake to Receive Presidential Medal at SUNY Empire State College Northeast Center Commencement

‌‌Left to right: Northeast Center Dean Gerry Lorentz, students Russell Riddell, Agnes Zink, Cheryl Schiemer and Acting President Meg Benke at the center’s student recognition ceremony.

Northeast Center Dean Gerry Lorentz, at left, stands with 2012-13 Stewart’s Shops Scholarship recipients Russell Riddell, Agnes Zink, Cheryl Schiemer and Acting President Meg Benke at the center’s student recognition ceremony.

(ALBANY, N.Y. – June 3, 2013) The Presidential Medal, the highest honor awarded by SUNY Empire State College, will be presented to Susan Law Dake, president of Stewart’s Foundation at the college’s Northeast Center  2013 graduation.

“For her passion for community betterment through Stewart’s Shops’ corporate philanthropy, for generous support of Empire State College and the graduates of SUNY community colleges and for her volunteerism and exceptional success in business, the college is pleased to commend Susan Law Dake to the State University of New York to receive Empire State College’s highest honor, the Presidential Medal,” said Acting President Meg Benke.

"Empire State College has broken down so many barriers to higher education by creating access to busy students no matter their age or life circumstances,” said Dake. “We are happy to be a small part of their mission."

“Each year through the generosity of Stewart’s Shops, students at the Northeast Center are enabled to pursue their education and earn a degree,” said Gerald Lorentz, dean of the Northeast Center. “Again this year, students who benefited from these scholarships will cross the stage at graduation. Through these scholarships Stewarts not only supports our students in meeting their personal goals, but through the efforts and success of these students they also support, enhance and improve our communities.”

The ceremony will take place at 11 a.m., Saturday, June 8, at The Egg, Empire State Plaza, Albany.

About the Stewart’s Shops Community College Scholarship

The Stewart’s Shops Community College Scholarship program was created to support students who have graduated from one of the 14 SUNY community colleges located in the Stewart’s Shops’ service area. The $1,000 scholarship is for one academic year and half the total amount is awarded each semester.

Last year, Stewart’s Foundation renewed its multi-year commitment to the college and pledged $60,000 for scholarships to be distributed during the subsequent three years. The Empire State College Foundation matches this gift, which provides $40,000 annually to SUNY community college graduates in Stewart’s Shops service area.

The scholarship program was first established in 2007 with an annual gift of $14,000 per year and that continued through 2011.

When the current pledge is completed in 2015, this program will have provided almost a quarter of a million dollars in scholarship funding.

Susan Law Dake, president of Stewart's Shops Foundation is the commencement speaker for the 2013 Northeast Center graduation.

Susan Law Dake, president Stewart's foundation

About Susan Law Dake

As president of the Stewart’s Foundation, Dake oversees the allocation of funds to hundreds of nonprofit organizations in communities in which Stewart’s Shops are located.

In addition, she serves on the nonprofit boards of St. Peter’s Health Partners, Siena College, The Saratoga Foundation, The Arnold Cogswell Fund of the Community Foundation and the Philly and Charlie Dake Foundation and has raised funds for the YMCA of Saratoga, Skidmore College, The Community Hospice, Saratoga Hospital, St. Peter’s Hospital, Emma Willard School, the National Museum of Dance, Home Made Theater and the Saratoga Performing Arts Center.

Previously, Dake was responsible for communications and public affairs for Stewart’s Shops, an employee- and family-owned convenience store chain, based in Saratoga Springs and founded in 1945.

She began her professional career as a teacher. Dake first served as an assistant for the Katrina Trask Nursery School and then taught at Greenfield Elementary School and other schools within the Saratoga Springs City School District.

Dake earned a master’s in reading from the State University of New York at Albany and a B.S. in theater from Skidmore College. Dake resides in Saratoga Springs with her husband Bill; together they have six children and 12 grandchildren.

About the Presidential Medal

The highest award the college bestows, the Presidential Medal recognizes outstanding career achievement, scholarly excellence, leadership in the professions, noteworthy public service or humanitarian endeavors, societal impacts, innovation, courage, character and ability to inspire students.

The medal is an occasional award.  Nominations are made by the college community at any time. The award is given on appropriate occasions in the life of the college. While the award is meant primarily to recognize external contributors, nominations of current or former employees also may be considered.

About SUNY Empire State College

SUNY Empire State College was established in 1971 to offer adult learners the opportunity to earn associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the State University of New York.

In addition to awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college pairs each student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout his or her college career. Students engage in guided independent study and course work onsite, online or a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to learn at the time, place and pace they choose.

The college serves more than 20,000 students worldwide at more than 35 locations in the state of New York and online. Its 66,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more.