May 8, 2014

SUNY Board of Trustees Honor Empire State College Olympians Erin Hamlin ’11, and Ashley Caldwell ‘14

Hamlin Won Bronze at Sochi – Teammate Caldwell is Current National Champion

Ashley Caldwell '14 tweeted the college a selfie with fellow alumna Erin Hamlin '11 on their way to the White House as members of the U.S. Olympic Team

Sochi Bronze-medalist Erin Hamlin '11 and U.S. Olympic teammate Ashley Caldwell '14 Tweeted a selfie to Empire State College on their way to the White House. Hamlin, left, and Caldwell were among those honored yesterday by the trustees.

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – May 8, 2014) Bronze-medal winning Olympian Erin Hamlin ’11 and her U.S. Olympic teammate and current national champion, Ashley Caldwell ’14, were among those recognized in a formal resolution adopted by The State University of New York Board of Trustees at  yesterday’s meeting.

“Erin and Ashley are remarkable, even among SUNY Empire State College’s 20,000 nontraditional students and 70,000 alumni,” said Merodie A. Hancock, president of the college. “Formal recognition for Erin and Ashley by the trustees honors not only their accomplishments, but also the entire Empire State College community for providing access to adults with families, full-time jobs and community commitments. It also points to the flexibility we can offer Olympic medal winners, world and national champions, so they can earn or complete a degree.”

Hamlin ‘11, a three-time Olympian, made U.S. Olympic history by winning the bronze medal, luge, women’s singles, at the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

The 27-year-old of Remsen, N.Y., is the first U.S. singles luger ever to win a medal in Olympic competition.

“I had a great experience with everyone I worked with at Empire State College,” said Hamlin. “It was the first college situation that was affordable and easy to manage while training and competing. Renee O'Brien was my advisor and mentor, as well as photography professor, and she helped me to adjust classes and worked with my busy schedule, so I could complete my degree as efficiently as possible. As a proud New Yorker, I was very glad to have a state school program that fit my lifestyle.”

2014 Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence recipient and two-time Olympian Ashely Caldwell, center, is seen here after winning the 2014 USANA National Championships in Aerials, held March 29 at Park City Utah. Photo/Riley Steinmetz/U.S. Ski Team

2014 Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence recipient and two-time Olympian Ashely Caldwell, center, is seen here after winning the 2014 USANA National Championships in Aerials, held March 29 at Park City Utah. Caldwell is seen here with Si Ning Chan in second and Allison Lee third. Photo/Riley Steinmetz/U.S. Ski Team

‌Caldwell won her first-ever U.S. Freestyle Skiing National Championship in aerials on March 29 at the 2014 USANA U.S. Freestyle Championships held in Park City, Utah.

The 20-year-old native of Ashburn, Va., a two-time member of the U.S. Olympic Team, finished 10th in freestyle skiing, women’s aerials, at the 2014 Winter Games.

“I would like to thank the SUNY Trustees for this honor,” said Caldwell.  “I really appreciated my time learning with Empire State College and the innovative way the college enabled me to continue my education while I competed domestically and abroad with Team USA.  I know that my degree from SUNY will afford me the opportunity to go into any field I could desire when my time with the U.S. Ski Team comes to an end.”

Both Caldwell and Hamlin earned their SUNY Empire State College degrees online.

SUNY Student Assembly President and Trustee Tremayne Price put forward the resolution honoring the athletic accomplishments of students, alumni, teams and coaches.

SUNY Empire State College student and student assembly President-elect Lori Mould will succeed Price as president and as the board’s student trustee, when his term ends May 31.

About Erin Hamlin ‘11

In addition to competing in three consecutive Winter Olympics, Hamlin was the gold medalist in 2009 at the World Championships held in Lake Placid, N.Y. She was the 2008 Verizon U.S. National Champion and the 2009 and 2010 Norton U.S. National Champion. She earned her A.A. in interdisciplinary studies through the college’s Center for Distance Learning.

A sectional all-star in soccer and track while attending Remsen Junior/Senior High School, her favorite athlete is soccer’s Mia Hamm.

About Ashley Caldwell ‘14

Caldwell, a 2014 recipient of the Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence, SUNY’s most prestigious student honor, completed her requirements for the B.S. in business, management and economics with a concentration in finance. She graduates this spring with at GPA of 3.8.

Caldwell was a competitive gymnast for 11 years before watching Olympic skiing on TV. She thought it would be “totally awesome” to try aerials. After only three years of training, Caldwell made the U.S. Ski Team at a selection event at the beginning of the 2010 season and then went on to have an outstanding rookie season.

Later that year, at the age of 16, Caldwell claimed top 15 results in her first three World Cup competitions. She finished 10th at the Olympics and claimed a silver medal at the U.S. National Championships, a feat she repeated in 2011.

Then, in December of 2011 and again in 2012, Caldwell sustained serious injuries to both her right and left ACLs (anterior cruciate ligaments). Overcoming both injuries, she earned a silver medal in women’s aerials at the World Cup competition held Dec. 15, 2013, in Lake Beida, China, on her road to Sochi.

About SUNY Empire State College

Empire State College, the nontraditional, open college of the SUNY system, educates more than 20,000 students worldwide at eight international sites, more than 35 locations in the state of New York, online, as well as face to face and through a blend of both, at the associate, bachelor’s and master’s levels.

The average age of an undergraduate student at the college is 35 and graduate students average age 40.

Most Empire State College students are working adults. Many are raising families and meeting civic commitments in the communities where they live, while studying part time.

In addition to awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college pairs each undergraduate student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout his or her college career.

Working with their mentors, students design an individual degree program and engage in guided independent study and course work onsite, online or through a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to choose where, when and how to learn.

Students have the opportunity to enroll five times during the year.

The college’s 70,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more.

The college was first established in 1971 by the Board of Trustees with the encouragement of the late Ernest L. Boyer, chancellor of the SUNY System from 1970 to 1977.

Boyer also served as United States commissioner of education during the administration of President Jimmy Carter and then as president of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

More information about the college is available at


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