Two SUNY Canton Students Earn Chancellor’s Awards


The State University of New York has announced that two SUNY Canton students have been selected for the prestigious Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence.

Samuel Dieubeni T. Diffo, an international student from Yaoundé, Cameroon, and Sebastien Paquette of Montreal, Quebec, were recognized during a SUNY-wide ceremony celebrating students held Thursday, April 11, in Albany.

Diffo studied in the Finance program in the School of Business and Liberal Arts.

Samuel Diffo holds his Chancellor's Award certificate

“Samuel overcame a childhood of poverty in Yaoundé, Cameroon,” said SUNY Canton President Zvi Szafran. “His long journey to get here did nothing to diminish his determination or ambition and only fuels his potential for a bright future.”

An entrepreneurial spirit drove Diffo to create a profitable perfume business in 2019. Through self-taught social media marketing, Diffo made Elpanda Perfumes a profitable enterprise that helped make his dream of an American college education possible.

At SUNY Canton, Diffo established a record of student leadership. He has served as a Resident Assistant, tutored his peers and served as an orientation leader. He was selected as a presidential intern in the college’s Special Events Office and worked as a student assistant in the fitness center.

Staff members describe him as resourceful, focused, tenacious, and well-rounded.

Paquette majored in Civil and Environmental Engineering Technology, a premier program within the Canino School of Engineering Technology. He also played on the men’s hockey team for four years

Sebastian Paquette playing hockey at Roos House.

“Sebastien exemplifies a well-rounded student,” Szafran said. “He is academically engaged and successful. He flourishes in leadership roles in academics and athletics, and he seeks out opportunities to put his skills to work whenever he can.”

He maintained near-perfect grades in his program and was recognized for achieving the highest GPA in his major for two years. He was inducted into the Tau Alpha Pi National Honor Society and served as its president.

As a student-athlete, Paquette was selected by his coaches and teammates as assistant captain in his junior year and captain in his senior year. He has sought out opportunities for the team to engage in community service, including mentoring local youth. He completed two internships with construction and paving businesses in Montreal. His supervisors praised him for his professionalism and the quality of his work.

Faculty members describe Paquette as diligent, inquisitive, hard-working, engaged, passionate, and resilient.

About SUNY Canton

As Northern New York's premier college for career-driven bachelor's degrees, associate degrees and professional certificate programs, SUNY Canton delivers quality hands-on programs in engineering technology, management, and healthcare fields. It is home to the Center for Criminal Justice, Intelligence and Cybersecurity. Faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. As SUNY's leader in online education, SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as 23 online degree programs. The SUNY Canton Kangaroos 15 traditional athletic teams compete at the NCAA Division III level as part of the North Atlantic Conference. SUNY Canton also features varsity esports and cheerleading.