SUNY Canton Athletic Director Receives Prestigious President’s Award
Things have been hopping in the SUNY Athletic Department all year, even prior to the arrival of the Kangaroos.
SUNY Canton President Joseph L. Kennedy has awarded the 2007 President’s Meritorious Service Award to Assistant Dean of Students and Athletic Director Diane J. Para. This year included acceptance into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), the change of the athletic nickname to Kangaroos, preparations to move to four-year athletics, plans to construct a new $18-million athletic and convocation facility, and the start of construction for the new outdoor, lighted synthetic turf field. The athletic program will also add men’s and women’s cross country this fall.
“It is a pleasure to present the Meritorious Service Award to someone who, to use a sports expression, bleeds SUNY Canton blue and green,” said Kennedy at a recent college-wide ceremony. “Diane, you’ve been with us for 18 years, and this may have been the craziest.”
Para began her career at SUNY Canton in 1989 as director of intramurals and recreation sports and as a technical assistant for the athletic department. She became an assistant to Athletic Director Al Chadwick and became the Athletic Director in 1993. Last year, she was named Assistant Dean of Students, and began the complete restructuring of the athletic teams, including their name, to accompany the college’s transition to a four-year college. She has served on numerous committees both on campus and in Region III of the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).
“Diane is a highly motivated and driven leader,” Assistant Director of Athletics Matthew G. Metcalf pointed out. “She is incredibly dedicated to the student-athletes and is committed to providing the best possible experience for them both athletically and academically.”
Para started the women’s volleyball team at SUNY Canton and coached for eight seasons. She was named the Mid-State Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 2002 and 2003. She has also coached women’s softball at SUNY Canton and was named the Assistant Dean of Students. Para received her bachelor’s degree in Physical Education with a minor in Sports Management from Ithaca College, and a master’s degree in athletic and recreation management from Eastern Illinois University. She is currently working towards her doctorate degree in leadership in higher education from Capella University in Minnesota.
She is quick to praise her staff and for those who have mentored her during her career, most noticeably Chadwick, Associate Professor of Humanities Sue S. Rummel and School of Liberal Arts and Support Services Dean Pauline A. Graveline.