April 18, 2018

Documentary Photographer Christopher Bowman Receives the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence

SUNY Chancellor Kristina Johnson and SUNY Empire Officer in Charge Mitchell Nesler, right, present Christopher Bowman with the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence at the ceremony in Albany, N.Y.

Christopher Bowman, who will graduate this spring with a bachelor’s in The Arts, with a concentration in documentary photography, has received a Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence.

He will complete college with a 3.94 GPA.

Bowman enrolled at SUNY Empire in 2013 after a 20-year career as a songwriter and musician. He still performs and continues his work as a sound designer.

Bowman, a Florida native, now lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., with his wife, Jenny Bowman, a vice president of marketing at Condé Nast.

He is a member of the college’s student/alumni Metro Art Club and helped organize a student photography club.

Bowman’s artwork was included in the college’s “50 Years and Still Dreaming,” an exhibit at the college’s Livingston Gallery, located in the college’s Brooklyn location, which honored the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In 2016, Bowman’s work was exhibited at the New York State Museum, Albany, as part of the annual, statewide Best of SUNY Student Art Exhibition, for which he received an honorable mention.

He also won second place in the collegewide Student Art Competition in 2016 and 2017.

In 2015, Bowman and the photography club took their work out into the world for an exhibit at Treehouse Theatre, New York City. Bowman co-curated and exhibited in the show.

His artwork has been selected for several other curated art shows at the college’s Brooklyn and Manhattan locations and appeared many times in The Student Connection, the college’s student-run online newsletter.

Recently, he produced a series of photographs for his college capstone project, “Thriving,” which focuses on five men living with HIV.

“I want people to know you can live a happy, productive, healthy, active, awesome life, even if you are HIV-positive,” he says.

For the project, in addition to creating the photographs, he also interviewed his subjects and included, as captions, their thoughts about living with HIV. To protect his subjects’ privacy, and at their requests, he will not show the work publicly.

Bowman’s volunteer activities have included running with disabled children and adults as they train for the Achilles International events, which enable people with all types of disabilities to participate in mainstream running events in order to promote personal achievement.

Bowman reads to the elderly as part of Book Cart at Beth Abraham Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation, cleans homeless shelters with Xavier Mission and assists disabled children riding therapeutic horses with Gallop NYC.

About The Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence

Created in 1997, the award honors students who have demonstrated and achieved recognition for integrating academic excellence with accomplishments in several areas, including:

  • leadership
  • athletics
  • community service
  • creative and performing arts
  • campus involvement
  • career achievement.

Each year, campus presidents establish selection committees, which review nominations of exemplary students. Selected nominations are forwarded to the chancellor’s office and subject to a second round of review by a committee, which includes members of the chancellor’s office, the provost’s office and other professionals at SUNY system administration. Finalists then are recommended to the chancellor for her determination.

Each award recipient receives a framed certificate and medallion, which is worn at commencement and other academic events requiring regalia.

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