SUNY Canton President Joseph L. Kennedy announced that Wesley L. Stitt, outgoing SUNY Canton College Council Chair, will be the recipient of the 2008 Distinguished Citizen Award.
Stitt will be recognized at SUNY Canton’s 100th Commencement Ceremony at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, May 17, outdoors across from SUNY Canton’s French Hall.
“Wes has been an extraordinary advocate for the College,” said Kennedy. “His contributions to SUNY Canton and his tireless support for public higher education have been an integral part of the College’s success over the past several years.”
Kennedy secretly recommended Stitt to the other members of College Council, who in turn secured the nominations necessary to bestow the award. Much to Stitt’s surprise, the board voted unanimously to grant him the honor during his final year as SUNY Canton College Council Chairman.
Many faculty and staff members at SUNY Canton have acknowledged Stitt for his strong work ethic, relentless dedication, and visionary leadership skills. “Wes shows unbridled support of our American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Steel Bridge Team,” said Robert R. Blickwedehl, ASCE Steel Bridge team advisor and SUNY Canton Civil Engineering Technology faculty member. “He is one of the finest people I have dealt with in my 45-year career.”
Stitt has been involved with education for more than 50 years. He started as a History, English, Sociology, and Psychology teacher at Heuvelton Central School in 1957 and became the school’s Vice Principal and Guidance Counselor in 1964. He later became the Superintendent of Ogdensburg City School District until his retirement in 1990.
Stitt began his association with SUNY Canton in 1964. He recruited college professors to teach credit-bearing courses to high school students, which was a precursor to the modern distance learning and online courses available through the college. “I would describe Wes as the perfect ambassador for SUNY Canton,” said Daniel J. Miller, Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering Technology.
Stitt serves on a variety of boards and gives his time freely to a number of charitable organizations. He is the Vice President of the Augsbury Institute and the Director of the Institute on Ethical Behavior. He serves on the Heuvelton Development Corporation Board of Directors, the Heuvelton Senior Citizens Board of Directors, the Ogdensburg Correctional Facility Advisory Board, and is a member of the Elks Lodge No. 772 and the Canadian Legion Branch No. 48. He is also an Honorary Trustee of the Frederic Remington Art Museum.
“Wes has been involved with the Remington Museum as a trustee, volunteer and advisor for over 27 years, through thick and thin,” said Edward LaVarnway, Executive Director of the museum. “Whether advancing the museum’s agenda in the political arena or simply rolling up his sleeves to help with various projects, Wes has been a great and true friend of our institution.”
Stitt has received numerous other awards and accolades through his years of involvement, including St. Lawrence University’s North Country Citation, a U.S. Army Commander’s Award for Public Service, an I Love New York Tourism Award, a certificate of appreciation from the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa, Ont., and an Elks Public Service Award.
Stitt earned his bachelor’s degree in Political Science with honors in 1957 and his Masters in Education in 1959 from St. Lawrence University. He also earned a 6th Year professional Certificate in Guidance in 1963 from the University of Bridgeport.
Stitt and his wife Janet are well known for their involvement in their home community of Heuvelton and in the greater North Country region. Their daughter, Jennifer MacDonald, is a Physical Therapist and teaches at SUNY Canton. Their son Douglas is a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army.
SUNY Canton offers a wide variety of career-driven bachelor’s, associate, and certificate programs, as well as three master’s degrees in conjunction with SUNYIT, Utica. Most of SUNY Canton’s new four-year programs are designed so students can take them on-campus, online, or both. SUNY Canton OnLine features more than 65 courses online each semester. The college’s athletic teams have joined the NAIA’s Sunrise Conference, enabling students to compete in their respective sports for four years.
Media inquiries should be directed to Gregory Kie, Media Relations Coordinator, or call 315/386-7528.