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Honors Center Welcomes New Director

As the new director of the SUNY Plattsburgh Honors Center, Dr. Tracie Guzzio said she wants the program and the center to be seen as another home for students.

“I think that sense of community is very much a recruiting tool,” Guzzio said. “I have had students and their parents tell me as much. I have been told that it was the sense of a family atmosphere that we project to prospective students that made them choose SUNY Plattsburgh.” 

Guzzio said she feels this kind of homey atmosphere “is especially important for our international students and other students new to the North Country.

‘We Welcome Them’

“Many of them are far from home; I want them to feel that we welcome them like they are long-lost relatives,” she said. “And as our students begin to graduate and leave, they often feel compelled to try to bring new students to the program and to campus.”

The Redcay Honors Center, located in Hawkins Hall, is home to the college’s Honors Program and provides students in the program a study lounge, a computer lab, a kitchenette, and two specially designed and furnished seminar rooms where many of the Honors Program seminars are conducted.

Her instincts are built on the two directors who preceded her: Dr. James Armstrong, distinguished teaching professor in anthropology, who stepped down as director this fall; and Dr. David Mowry, distinguished teaching professor of philosophy emeritus, who took the vision of the late Dr. Edward “Doc” Redcay and created the program, becoming its first director.

Guzzio was appointed assistant director last year “in order to ease into the role as director” when Armstrong stepped down, she said.

“Part of my transition now includes incorporating what I have learned from James and Dave Mowry into my daily life as the director as well as plan for the future of the program,” Guzzio said.

‘Wealth of Experience’

Dr. Michael Morgan, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, called Guzzio “a strong asset to the Honors Center” and credited her for brining “a wealth of experience to this role in the center.”

“She is a well-respected colleague, adviser and mentor, receiving the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2008,” he said. “She has a strong history of service, including as a past chair of the General Education Committee, a faculty senator, and in other campus and community activities.”

Morgan thanked Armstrong for his service not only to the Honor’s Program, but “for his many years of dedicated service as professor of anthropology and numerous other contributions to the college.”

Guzzio said she has ideas for “nurturing some of the best qualities of the program and the center.

Share Ideas and Abilities

“I would like to encourage more opportunities for students to share their ideas and abilities outside of the honors classes — and with their fellow students across campus,” she said. “I think developing some peer mentoring opportunities that focus on academic success and promote the diverse perspectives of students in the Honors Program would help all of our college’s students.”

Guzzio joined the English faculty in 2000 as an assistant professor where she developed African-American literature courses. Promoted to full professor in 2012, she continues to serve as coordinator of Africana studies.

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