Three Herkimer College employees were recently honored with the prestigious 2024 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence.

The Chancellor’s Awards for Excellence are system-level honors conferred to acknowledge and provide recognition for consistently superior professional achievement and to encourage the ongoing pursuit of excellence.

Aaron Alford, of Ilion, NY, is the 2024 recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service. Alford recently retired after a 24 year-career at Herkimer College, where he served in numerous positions including technical assistant, financial aid assistant, assistant bursar, and bursar.

“Aaron has continually strived to maintain and improve his department’s operations and to provide clear information to students, always giving his fullest and best effort,” said Herkimer College Officer-in-Charge Nicholas F. Laino.

Robert Gassmann, Professor of Communication and Media, received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. Gassmann joined the Herkimer College faculty in 1990, and spent 26 years teaching in the Radio and Television Broadcasting program, and the past six years in the Communication and Media program.

“Professor Gassmann is a very active and engaged instructor who strives to grow professionally and pedagogically. Students rely on him for his expertise and for forging professional connections. Bob is always accessible and sees real possibilities for intellectual growth in every one of his students, ready to help them discover new things,” Laino said.

Campus Peace Officer Shea Manley received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in the Classified Service. Manley has served as a campus safety officer at Herkimer College since 2003.

“Officer Manley is very student-centered, putting our students first and remaining calm in all situations. He continually strives to ensure the safety of our campus community and has received several commendations throughout his years at Herkimer College, including a lifesaving award,” stated Laino.

The honorees were presented with a certificate and medallion during the College’s employee appreciation ceremony on May 8, and were also recognized during the 56th Commencement ceremony on May 10.

With the addition of these three employees, a total of 86 Herkimer College faculty and staff have been honored with the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence. A complete list is available at