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2019–20 Presidential Scholars

2019–20 Presidential Scholars

Back row, left to right: Jimmy Connolly, Scott Williams, Elijah Freiman. MIddle row, left to right: Xiane Smith, Sean McAneny, Shannon Curley, John Wilson. Front row, left to right: Emily Toy, Katherine Cotten, Victoria Cooke. Not pictured: Lindsey Dressler, Brianna Riggio, Donald Rothwein. (SUNY Geneseo/Keith Walters '11)

Thirteen SUNY Geneseo students are Presidential Scholars for the 2019–20 academic year, representing a variety of academic areas and exemplifying the college's institutional values. A presidential scholar is a top-achieving member of the senior class who also serves as an ambassador for the College.

To receive the honor, a student must hold a minimum grade point average of 3.6, have a minimum of 70 credits (at least 24 earned at Geneseo), and plan to graduate in May or August of the following year. Additionally, the student must demonstrate academic achievement across the curriculum, affirming Geneseo's values of excellence and innovation with experiences such as major directed studies, substantial overseas studies, independent research, conference presentations, significant artistic projects, or a record of creativity, and demonstrate Geneseo's value of integrity in academic and community life.

This year’s cohort has a 3.90 average GPA and represents 13 majors, six minors, Edgar Fellows, and numerous disciplines Adolescent Education.

The Presidential Scholars meet regularly with the provost and take on an initiative to support academic excellence at Geneseo. This year’s group is still determining what they will focus on but are considering issues such as retention and integrative learning initiatives.

The following students are Geneseo Presidential Scholars for the 2019–20 academic year:

  • James Connolly, a dual major in international relations and Spanish
  • Victoria Cooke, a history: adolescence education major with a minor in women's and gender studies
  • Katherine Cotten, a biology major with a chemistry minor
  • Shannon Curley, a dual major in geography and history with minors in the Edgar Fellows Honors Program and environmental studies
  • Lindsey Dressler, a biochemistry major with a mathematics minor
  • Elijah Freiman, a geography major with minors in urban studies and environmental studies
  • Sean McAneny, an English major
  • Brianna Riggio, a dual major in French and English with minors in linguistics and the Edgar Fellows Honors Program
  • Donald Rothwein, an English: adolescence education major 
  • Xiane Smith, a biochemistry major with a minor in mathematics
  • Emily Toy, a biochemistry major
  • Scott Williams, a dual major in geography and political science with minors in the Edgar Fellows Honors Program and environmental studies
  • John Wilson, a dual major in physics and mathematics with a minor in the Edgar Fellows Honors Program


Monique Patenaude, PhD
Director of Media Relations
(585) 245-5056