Herkimer College Announces 2014 Torchbearer Awards

Herkimer County Community College announces three honorees to receive the 2014 Torchbearer Award. Given every five years, the Torchbearer Award recognizes individuals who have made substantial contributions to the College’s development, with particular attention given to those whose contributions were made in the first 20 years of the College’s history (1966–1986).

campoThe recipients of the 2014 Herkimer College Torchbearer Awards are: Dr. Robert Campo of Ilion, NY; David Champoux of Bluffton, SC; and Thomas LaPuma of Frankfort, NY.

Dean Emeritus Robert Campo was the dean of students at Herkimer College from 1969 to 1990. He was responsible for developing and overseeing all student services, including personal, career and transfer counseling, admissions, financial aid, the office of the registrar, student activities, veterans’ services, and testing/orientation. Campo was modeling the “student centered” approach to student services in higher education before it became popular in strategic plans, and he built Herkimer College’s services with the focus always being on the students’ needs. Campo also played a critical role in the accreditation of the College in 1978, taking the lead in preparing an institutional self-study report on which the accreditation was based.

ChampouxAssociate Dean Emeritus David Champoux was an innovative leader, teacher and mentor at Herkimer College for over 30 years. He served as an associate dean of academic affairs and division chair for several academic divisions and departments. He is responsible for developing the College’s Radio/TV Broadcasting program, which was one of the College’s early “flagship” programs. Champoux established WVHC as an FCC licensed radio station, and the station was subsequently named in his honor. He was responsible for establishing HCTV, the first community access cable TV outlet in Herkimer County, which is based on the College’s campus and has produced and broadcast hundreds of live TV programs. Champoux was also responsible for ushering the College’s radio and TV broadcasting into the digital age, and for guiding the development of the College’s first distance learning program. Under his leadership, several other key academic programs at the College were developed, including the Physical Therapist Assistant program. Champoux played a key role in designing the College’s Technology Center, and he was a founder and the first president of the College’s Professional Association, the bargaining unit for faculty and professional staff. He is a recipient of two SUNY Chancellor’s Awards: Excellence in Teaching (1976) and Excellence in Professional Service (1994).


LaPumaProfessor Emeritus Thomas LaPuma was employed at Herkimer College from 1970 to 2003, during which time he served as director of Athletics for 16 years (1974 – 1990). During his tenure, LaPuma was instrumental in establishing the intercollegiate and intramural athletics programs and developing the Physical Education curriculum. He also coached no fewer than nine team sports and played a key role in the creation of the Fitness Center. LaPuma was awarded a SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2001, and he was among the inaugural class inducted to the Herkimer College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2011.

Nineteen Torchbearer Awards have been presented since 1999, with recipients including members of the College’s emeritus faculty and staff, as well as community members who contributed significantly to the growth and success of the College. Details available at www.herkimer.edu/explore/torchbearers/

Award recipients will be honored with individual plaques on the Torchbearer's Wall in the Robert McLaughlin College Center lobby. The plaque bears the following text: “We recognize those who have given themselves to light the way for future generations. Through their vision and commitment, our Torchbearers have built this community college and maintained its tradition of opportunity and excellence.” The 2014 Torchbearer Awards will be unveiled at an evening ceremony and reception to be held at the College on Friday, October 10, 2014.

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