March 31, 2017

Verna – Guide Dog Extraordinaire – Retires

Special recognition for a member of the SUNY Empire State College community was bestowed during the recent All College Conference, held in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

Verna, who has helped Associate Professor and Mentor Desiree Roberts manage her visual impairment on a day-to-day basis for a decade, retired earlier this year.

Acknowledging Verna’s service to Roberts, President Merodie A. Hancock pointed out that the black lab has had an impact on everyone at SUNY Empire who has come in contact with her.

“The larger role I think (Verna) has played has been to add a level of sanity and joy to every office she has visited throughout her years,” said Hancock.

In accepting the award on behalf of Verna, Roberts said, “I would like to personally thank all of you who have opened your hearts and let Verna in. I can tell you that when I take her to a specific building, any building, I can hear people laughing up and down the hallway, because it makes them feel good (to see Verna). She is truly ‘guide dog extraordinaire’ there, and thank you all for the last 10 years of sharing her service.”

A video recording of the award presentation is available at

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