Buffalo State College will award the President’s Medal for Outstanding Undergraduate and Graduate Student—the highest student honors bestowed by the college—to two of its most distinguished student leaders during its 150th Commencement celebration on Saturday, May 21.
Nicholas M. Stanford will receive the President’s Medal for Outstanding Undergraduate Student and will deliver the undergraduate student address during the college’s two baccalaureate ceremonies, at 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. Solomon Joseph will receive the President’s Medal for Outstanding Graduate Student and will deliver the graduate student address during the Graduate School Ceremony at 5:00 p.m. The President’s Medal recognizes students for their exceptional academic achievement, community service, leadership, and creativity.
Nicholas M. Stanford
Intellectually curious and passionate about learning, Stanford combines sophisticated critical thinking with an impressive work ethic. He has conducted unique research on the intersection of music and philosophy. His Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship focused on how people respond to music and whether their emotional reactions are influenced by cognitive objects unrelated to the music. He later successfully defended his philosophy honors thesis on the topic of music and emotions and was lauded for his ability to explain complicated musical concepts. He has also contributed qualitative research on at-home toddler musical play, culminating in a co-presentation of these findings at the Early Childhood Music and Movement Association’s Biennial International Convention and an article recently submitted for publication.
He has worked as an assistant to the coordinator of the college’s music education program. He also completed a 14-minute composition for piano, marimba, and cello as part of an independent study course. A natural educator, he taught music and English to elementary school students through the International Professional Development Schools (IPDS) program in Torremaggiore, Italy, in 2020. He returned to Italy in spring 2022 to teach music in the college’s IPDS Siena student teaching program.
Stanford serves as president of the college’s chapter of Phi Sigma Tau, the international philosophy honor society; early childhood music lead and co-teacher at the Buffalo State Community Arts Academy; and principal percussionist and timpanist with the Buffalo State Wind Ensemble.
Beyond the college, he interned as an assistant music librarian with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra and volunteered as a literacy instructor for adolescent refugee students in the ENERGY (Energy, Nurture, Encouragement, Readiness, and Growth for Youth) program at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Buffalo.
Solomon Joseph has earned a master of science in higher education and student affairs administration, attaining a 4.0 GPA while demonstrating a commitment to citizenship and campus involvement.
Joseph has excelled in the areas of research and inquiry on topics such as student development through advisement and the effects of social justice initiatives in higher education institutions. He served as a teaching assistant, and fellow students lauded his cultural knowledge and creative application of course materials to their own careers and personal and educational development.
As a graduate assistant in the Equity and Campus Diversity Office, Joseph coordinated and co-facilitated a meaningful Diversity Dialogue Series. He also was chosen to serve on the President’s Council on Equity and Campus Diversity and the Social Justice Learning Institute Committee. In addition, he has served as a campus restorative justice ambassador, an intern for the Buffalo Charter School of Applied Technologies Summer Bridge Program, and a teaching assistant for the Buffalo Middle Early College Academic and Tutoring Center, where he earned the 2021 Intern of the Year Award.
Beyond campus, he has served as editor of Buffalo Latino Village, a monthly publication serving the local Puerto Rican and Latino communities. He has facilitated multicultural learning and development workshops for the West Side Promise Neighborhood Program and volunteered with the Buffalo Peacemakers violence and gang intervention program. He also developed a website, The Educational Pledge, to promote education, information, resources, and diversity.
Joseph’s proactive involvement and positive attitude make him an ideal role model for professionals in the higher education and student affairs communities. His ability to teach, coach, challenge, and support make him a positive force in any setting.
Photos by Buffalo State Creative Services.