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SUNY Plattsburgh honors Giltz, Paquette for service to the college

Plattsburgh, N.Y. (April 16, 2009) - Roderic G. Giltz and Celine Racine Paquette have been selected to receive SUNY Plattsburgh's Distinguished Service Award. Both will be honored at the college's commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 16.

College Council Chair Arnold Amell said that he could think of no more deserving people to be given the award, which was designed "to honor a person, preferably from the North Country or state of New York, who has made a contribution or has been of assistance to SUNY Plattsburgh" than Giltz and Paquette.

Rod Giltz "Anyone looking at their business success, their outstanding community service and their extensive involvement with and support of SUNY Plattsburgh can see that their selection to receive the Distinguished Service Award is richly deserved," said Amell.

According to Amell, the council's vote on the selection of the award winners was unanimous, because both "have an extraordinary record of voluntary service to the college and to the broader Plattsburgh community."

Chairman of one of the largest insurance agencies in northeastern New York, Northern Insuring Agency, Giltz has been active with the college since the 1960s. He credits his father, the late E. Glenn Giltz, a founding member and former president of the Plattsburgh College Foundation and a previous winner of the SUNY Plattsburgh Distinguished Service Award, for getting him involved.

"Dad said, 'You need to get involved in this, and you need a check cut for $100.' Back then (1963), $100 was quite a bit of money. I looked at him and said, 'Why should I do that?' That was my beginning," said Giltz. "It was part of the education of a youngster by his parent who talked about an obligation to giving back to the community and the community in a broad sense of the word - meaning the college, the state, the nation."

Giltz has been giving back ever since. He currently serves as a member of the Finance Committee of CVPH Medical Center, trustee of Miner Institute, director of The Development Corporation and vice chairman of Champlain National Bank. During his career, he was also the chair or president of many organizations, namely, the CVPH Medical Center, The Development Corporation, the Foundation of CVPH, Plattsburgh Rotary Club, the Kent-Delord House, Lake Champlain Committee and the Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce. He has also served as the district governor of Rotary International and the treasurer of Adirondack Community Trust, Clinton Community College Foundation and Lake Champlain Maritime Museum. In 1977, he chaired the United Way Annual Campaign and, in 1988, the CVPH Capital Campaign.

His honors include receiving the 1968 Jaycee's Distinguished Service Award, the 1998 United Way Community Service Award, the 2001 Rotarian of the Year and the 2005 New York State Independent Agents and Brokers Community Service Award.

He said that he learned about giving at E. Glenn's knee and, as a result, he feels quite honored to follow in his father's footsteps, Celine Paquette earning the same award.

Paquette said she was humbled by the award.

"When Arnie Amell called me about it, I was just stunned," said Paquette. "There are so many deserving people out there; to select me was just special."

A former school nurse-teacher, Ticonderoga middle school principal, SUNY Trustee and head of Paquette's Insurance Agency, Paquette has maintained ties with SUNY Plattsburgh since she graduated from its nurse-teacher program in 1960. She was a member and is now an honorary member of the Plattsburgh Foundation Board, and has served as the chair of its business campaign in the Northern Tier. In addition, she was a member of the nursing program's advisory board.

As SUNY trustee, she attended all of the college's commencements and was regularly invited to speak to the College Council. Currently, she serves as co-chair of the Bright with Promise capital campaign, the first comprehensive fundraising campaign in the history of the college. She is also a benefactor of the Community Service Scholarship program, which has helped both students and the community.

Over the years, Paquette has also worked to bring her love of history to others. Gov. George Pataki appointed her the vice chair of the state's Quadricentennial celebration. As such, she has spearheaded an effort to bring the celebration to the Champlain region. In addition, she is currently restoring an former bank building in Champlain, N.Y., which will be turned into the Samuel de Champlain History Center.

Paquette's current community efforts include serving as a trustee of St. Michael's College; a commissioner on the Middle States Commission on Higher Education; chair of the advisory board for St. Anne's Shrine in Isle LaMonte, Vt.; chair of the Diocese of Ogdensburg Investment Committee; and member of the boards of both the Northern Corridor Community Federal Credit Union and the Champlain EMS District board.

She has previously served as both chairman and legislator of the Clinton County Legislature; trustee on the CVPH board; vice chair of the Battle of Plattsburgh board; vice president and secretary of the Town of Champlain Industrial Development Agency; president of the Rouses Point-Champlain Kiwanis Club; vice chair of the Town of Champlain Land Use Committee and subsequent Town Planning Board; secretary of the Clinton County Historical Association; and the town and village of Champlain historian.

She has received several awards honoring her for her community service; these include 2008 Women of Distinction Award by the New York State Senate, The Woodman of the World Citizen of the Year Award, a New York State Nurse-Teacher of the Year Award, a Distinguished Alumna Award from SUNY Plattsburgh, the Woman of Distinction Award by the Girl Scouts of the North Country and a Big Sister of the Year Award from the Big Brother-Big Sister Program of the North Country.

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