SUNY Canton VP and Role Model Wins College Council’s Excellence in College Service Award


A well-respected SUNY Canton administrator and tireless student advocate has received the College Council’s Excellence in College Service Award.

Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Courtney B. Bish was noted for embodying the college ethos “Everyone is Welcome Here.”

Courtney Bish holding an Everyone is Welcome Here sign
SUNY Canton Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Courtney B. Bish received the College Council’s Excellence in College Service Award for embodying the college ethos “Everyone is Welcome Here.” Bish proudly displays a sign with the same message in her office.

“Courtney has dedicated two decades to improving the student experience, and her work has ensured SUNY Canton is a welcoming, inclusive environment for all,” said College Council Chair Ronald M. O’Neill, who is a graduate of the class of 1963. “It was apparent by the nomination letters we received that she has made an impact on the college that will be felt far beyond the immediate future.”

She has been described as a role model for students and colleagues alike. “I do not know of any other person who could do her job better than she has and continues to do,” said Andrew P. Fitch, a 2021 graduate of the college’s Mechanical Engineering Technology program. “She impresses me as a professional that I can look up to.”

Bish has served as a mentor and friend. Her care and compassion have earned her much respect and admiration from the campus community.

“Courtney has been a leader who goes above and beyond and gives wholeheartedly to the college,” said SUNY Canton Director of Diversity and Orientation Lashawanda T. Ingram. “She has set a great example of what it truly means to be involved and supportive.”

Bish began her career at SUNY Canton in 2002 as a residence hall director. She also held Greek life coordinator and director of residence life positions before receiving appointment to her current post as one of the college’s four vice presidents.

“Courtney is a pivotal figure in the college’s ongoing collective history,” said Travis G. Smith, SUNY Canton Director of Public Relations. “She is a champion of diversity, equity and inclusion.”

During the past year, Courtney has led the College’s student-body COVID-19 testing initiative. Her oversight of this endeavor has ensured a safe environment for students, faculty, and staff to live, learn and work. She and two other SUNY Canton employees received SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran’s Meritorious Service Award for their work on campus-wide testing.

“She has not only done something spectacular this year, but she has also been exceptional for the past 20 years,” said Director of Counseling Melinda Miller. “We could compile a book on the examples of her dedicated service.”

Bish earned her Associate of Applied Science in Liberal Arts from Jefferson Community College. She went on to earn her Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Master of Educational Leadership from St. Lawrence University. She lives in Gouverneur with her husband, Rafael, and their son, Dominic.

The Excellence in College Service Award citation is bestowed in recognition of performance, professional ability, university service, continued growth, and mastery of specialization to an employee at SUNY Canton. It is decided entirely by the College Council, which received more than a dozen letters from faculty, staff and students endorsing Bish for recognition.

About SUNY Canton

Discover SUNY Canton, where innovation meets opportunity. The college’s career-focused educational programs emphasize hands-on and applied learning opportunities in digital design, engineering technology, health, information technology, management, public service, and veterinary technology. Faculty members bring real-world experience and exceptional academic expertise to the classroom. As a leader in online education, SUNY Canton offers unmatched flexibility with hundreds of courses and 23 comprehensive degree programs offered completely online. The SUNY Canton Kangaroos compete at the NCAA Division III level and will be transitioning to the SUNYAC in Fall 2024. In addition to its 15 traditional teams, SUNY Canton offers coed varsity esports and cheerleading.