The 2021 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence was awarded to two College students: Gianna Damico and Matthew Taboni.
This recognition is awarded to students who, according to the SUNY website, “have best demonstrated their integration of academic excellence with other aspects of their lives, which may include leadership, campus involvement, athletics, career achievement, community service or creative and performing arts.” Students were recognized in a virtual ceremony on April 14, 2021.
Matthew Taboni of Tonawanda, N.Y., graduates with a BS in business administration and a minor in Nonprofit Leadership from the College of Arts and Sciences Social Sciences Interdisciplinary Program. Taboni has advocated for students as president of the Residence Hall Association (RHA); co-chair of Blue Table, UB’s food pantry; assistant director of health and wellness for the Student Association; and in numerous other roles. He was named President of the Year by the National Association of College and University Residence Halls in recognition of his efforts to implement an endowment and scholarship to support residential students, start an alternative spring break program and expand RHA’s regional and national involvement.
As co-chair of Blue Table, UB’s food pantry, he kick-started creation of the pantry that now serves more than 50 students a week, including growing the pantry’s stock to offer personal hygiene products. In his role as assistant director of health and wellness for SA, Taboni established UB’s first Mental Health Awareness Week. Consisting of eight activities aimed at destigmatizing mental health issues and educating students on available resources, the success of the week-long program helped him win an Outstanding Campus Impact Award in May 2019.