ALBANY, N.Y. (WWTI) — Local college and university students in the North Country have been recognized by the State University of New York for their academic achievements.

On April 14, SUNY’s Educational Opportunity Program confirmed that dozens of students across the state received the Norman R. McConney, Jr. Award for Student Excellence.

The award itself was named in memory of Norman R. McConney, Jr., who was a University at Albany graduate and former assistant dean for special programs at SUNY. McConney, alongside former Assembly Deputy Speaker Arthur O. Eve, helped create the EOP as a statewide program.

This award recognizes outstanding EOP students for their academic merit and strength in overcoming significant personal obstacles.

In total, 45 students received the award. In the North Country, this included SUNY Canton student Tiffany Hobby, SUNY Potsdam student David Charles and Jefferson Community College student Natasha Richardson.

“The students we celebrate today have their own story on how they got to SUNY, but they are unified by their incredible perseverance in pursuit of their academic dreams,” SUNY Interim Chancellor Deborah F. Stanley said in a press release. “Despite personal hardships, these individuals are driving forward to change the world. My congratulations to this year’s awardees and their families both on and off-campus, and our humble thanks for the visionary work of former Assembly Deputy Speaker Eve, Mr. McConney, and Dr. Ballard.”

Since its inception in 1967, the EOP has provided access, academic support, and supplemental financial assistance to students from disadvantaged backgrounds, many of whom are the first in their families to attend college.

A full list of Norman R. McConney, Jr. Award recipients can be found on the SUNY website.