Sherry Leung Wins COPLAC Essay Award

GENESEO, N.Y – A SUNY Geneseo graduate, Sherry Leung, has won the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC) David J. Prior Award for an essay she wrote as a senior titled “Better Than I Found It,” about her experience attending a liberal arts college. It’s the second year in a row a Geneseo student has received the award. Leung graduated in May and was one of two commencement senior orators.

Listen to Leung read her essay.

The Prior Award was established in June 2012 in memory of University of Virginia’s College at Wise Chancellor and COPLAC President David J. Prior. It recognizes a student whose academic career has been shaped by the transformative power of the liberal arts and sciences experience at a COPLAC institution. COPLAC is a consortium of 27 public colleges and universities in 25 states and one Canadian province, focused on raising awareness of the value of public liberal arts education.

Leung, a history and adolescence education major from Fresh Meadows, N.Y. , had a realization after her first sociology class that she had the opportunity to analyze the world around her to be a better servant leader for Geneseo’s campus and community.

“Since that class, my perspective on community service and giving has been transformed,” Leung wrote in her essay. “I have taken a more decisive stance on being a listener rather than a conversationalist in situations when I am asked to help others in a situation. Rather than set before them a prescribed formula for success or help, I now ask first, ‘what do you think needs to be done? How do you think we can be of help to you?”

Last year’s inaugural David J. Prior award went to Cory Young, a 2013 Geneseo graduate.

News release written by College Communications intern Jennifer Kim.

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