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Former Assemblywoman Duprey to Receive Distinguished Service Award

Retired North Country Assemblywoman Janet Duprey will receive the 2017 SUNY Plattsburgh Distinguished Service Award at spring commencement Saturday, May 13.

Duprey, who served the 114th and then 115th Assembly districts from 2007 to 2016, was chosen “for her steadfast support of SUNY Plattsburgh and the North Country throughout her career on the Clinton County Legislature, as Clinton County treasurer, and most recently as the representative of the 115th district of the New York State Assembly,” according to the resolution approved by the Plattsburgh College Council at its Feb. 13 meeting. 

“Although I am seldom speechless, I truly was stunned when (Council Chair) Marty Mannix called to tell me I’d been selected for this award,” Duprey said when she received word. “As I think of the many commencements I’ve attended, and the people who have received this Distinguished Service Award, I’m in awe that I will be included in this group.”

The Distinguished Service Award, established in 1966, has been presented to a U.S. senator, a New York state senator, former White House press secretary, prominent alumni, faculty emeriti, and local dignitaries and officials. The council honors those individuals who have distinguished themselves during their professional careers for their support of the college and of the residents of the North Country.

First Woman in County Legislature

Duprey was the first woman and the youngest person to serve on the Clinton County Legislature when she was took office in 1976. After 10 years as a lawmaker, Duprey ran a successful race for Clinton County treasurer, making her the first woman to win a county-wide office here. She served the people of Clinton County in that capacity until she decided to run for the assembly seat, vacated by Chris Ortloff. Duprey was elected and took office in 2007, representing the people of Clinton and Franklin counties and one town in Essex County. Re-districting gave her all of Clinton and Franklin counties and four towns in St. Lawrence.

“As I’ve traveled extensively across the 3,200-square-mile district, I’ve met thousands of people,” Duprey said. “They have shared their most serious and personal problems with me and gave me the opportunity to almost always be able to help. I truly believe the vast majority of people in the North Country are hard-working, family-oriented, caring and compassionate.”

Although she attended SUNY Plattsburgh in 1963, Duprey said she’s always regretted not completing her degree. But her work always reflected her affinity for the college and for education.

Served on Higher Education Committee

”As a county official, I had the opportunity to serve on some college committees and to work on other civic organizations with great friends like (Vice President for Business Affairs) John Homburger. As a member of the assembly, I served on the Higher Education Committee for 10 years so my discussions and interactions with SUNY Plattsburgh and other area colleges became more frequent and diverse.

“I toured the college, met with administration, faculty and students on a regular basis. The diversity and benefits of SUNY Plattsburgh are important to me personally and add so much to our area. SUNY Plattsburgh is truly a hub of activities and provides opportunities that otherwise would not be available to most of us.”

Retirement is not slowing her down. Although it took her while to get used to not going to work every day, Duprey is staying connected by speaking to students like those in (Adjunct Lecturer) Tom Mandeville’s state and local government class, and (Assistant Professor) Jill Folsom’s health class.

“These are the types of opportunities I truly enjoy, and I hope to be able to continue,” said the native Peru, N.Y. She and her husband, Elmer, will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary this September and still reside there as do their son, John, and daughter, Michelle — a 1997 education graduate. Michelle’s daughter, Lacy, is a freshman at SUNY Plattsburgh.

“Throughout my career, my goal has been to show up for work every day and do a good job for the people I’ve been given the privilege to represent,” Duprey said. “An award such as this is more than I could have expected, but I think it acknowledges that I did do my job well.”

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