Posts Tagged ‘Distinguished Citizen Award’

SUNY Canton Names Reverend Mother Evette Austin as 2014 Distinguished Citizen

Friday, May 9th, 2014
Pictured are Acting SUNY Canton President Joseph C. Hoffman with Reverend Mother Evette Austin of Grace Episcopal Church, Canton. Austin received SUNY Canton’s Distinguished Citizen Award.

Pictured are Acting SUNY Canton President Joseph C. Hoffman with Reverend Mother Evette Austin of Grace Episcopal Church, Canton. Austin received SUNY Canton’s Distinguished Citizen Award.

SUNY Canton presented the 2014 Distinguished Citizen Award to a spiritual leader who has enriched the lives of those in the Canton community.

The Rev. Mother Evette Austin of Grace Episcopal Church in Canton was recognized for her leadership in bringing the community together and helping those in need.

Austin began working to raise funds to renovate the Grace Episcopal kitchen in 2011 to begin serving a weekly free meal to those less fortunate. The event provides food for approximately 250 people and has brought volunteers from all corners of the community to help cook and serve the meals, including students from SUNY Canton.

“This experience has both rewarded and enriched our students,” said Courtney Battista Bish, SUNY Canton dean of students. “Many have said that working in the soup kitchen and with Mother Evette has truly changed their lives.”

In her role as SUNY Canton campus minister, Austin provides spiritual guidance to students and organizes a “Blessing of the Brains” event where she, along with other campus ministers, assist students by giving out small gift bags with food and prayer just before final exams. She has also spearheaded a Thanksgiving Service, held each year before Thanksgiving break, for students, faculty and staff.

“Mother Evette is one of the most selfless people I know, never tiring of sharing her time and talents with both the SUNY Canton and Village of Canton communities,” said Janet E. Livingston, SUNY Canton secretary for the Division of Academic Support Services and Instructional Technologies. “She loves the students and loves to interact with them.”

After learning about community members’ need for basic necessities, Austin also created a food pantry and emergency closet for anyone who requires food or supplies.

“Mother Evette is truly a ‘giver’ in every sense of the word and has been a role model to all of us,” said Bish. “She provides hope to the to the economically and spiritually depressed, and she is certainly a beacon of light at SUNY Canton.”

Beyond campus, Austin has promoted the ecumenical community in Canton by holding monthly clergy meetings, supporting an ecumenical summer Bible school and organizing an annual Palm Sunday parade in Canton. She is also a member of the Rotary Club and the village Planning Board.

Austin was born and raised in Barbados. She completed her seminary education at the General Theological Seminary in New York City and previously served as a deacon in Connecticut. She was ordained at Grace Episcopal Church in 2006.


About SUNY Canton

SUNY Canton is Northern New York’s premier College for career-driven bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees and certificate programs. The College delivers quality hands-on programs in engineering technology, health, management, and public service to students in the North Country, New York State, and beyond. Faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to their academic credentials. SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as eight exclusively online bachelor’s degrees. The College’s 14 athletic teams compete in state-of-the-art facilities as provisional members of the NCAA Division III and the USCAA.


SUNY Canton Names John Gray as 2013 Distinguished Citizen

Monday, May 20th, 2013

SUNY Canton honored a longtime supporter of the College and community volunteer with the 2013 Distinguished Citizen Award.

John J. Gray Jr., CPA, founder and managing partner of Gray & Gray Certified Public Accountants in Canton, was recognized for his decades of public service and dedication to the area’s economic development.


“John Gray has worked tirelessly in the community to make Canton and the North Country a better place to live and work,” said SUNY Canton Interim President Carli C. Schiffner. “It is fitting that SUNY Canton is recognizing his many achievements and contributions with this award.”

Gray has helped develop long-range economic development goals for the village through his work on the Canton Economic Development Steering Committee. He also lends his financial expertise to the Canton Chamber of Commerce where he has served as treasurer since 2004.

“John has vast financial knowledge, which, over the years, he has shared generously with several volunteer organizations throughout the North Country.” said retired SUNY Canton Vice President for Administration Charles F. Goolden.

Gray has sponsored numerous exhibits with the Traditional Arts in Upstate New York (TAUNY), a not-for-profit folk arts organization in Canton, and he was instrumental in transforming an abandoned building in downtown Canton into professional office space and luxury condominiums.

In addition to his position as treasurer for the St. Lawrence Childcare Council, he serves on the Town of Colton Planning Board and was a member of the SUNY Canton Business Advisory Board. Gray is also actively involved in his church, where he donates his time to assist with events and acts as a consultant on financial matters.

“I feel honored and fortunate to know John Gray,” said the Rev. Raymond J. Moreau. “He is a person who has, and continues to be, involved with his church and community and has brought hope, spread joy and enlivened people — myself included.”

Gray received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Clarkson University. He and his wife, Christine, have four children and live in Colton.

Since 1976, the SUNY Canton College Council has given the Distinguished Citizen Award in recognition of exceptional and distinguished service to SUNY Canton, to the community, to the state or to the nation.