March 28, 2016

Bidhan Chandra Recognized with Altes Prize for Exemplary Community Service

Man with award flanked by two women.
President Merodie Hancock presents award to Bidhan Chandra, center. Jane W. Altes is at right.

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – March 28, 2016) Bidhan Chandra, a longtime Business, Management and Economics mentor at SUNY Empire State College’s Center for Distance Learning, is the recipient of this year’s Wally and Jane Altes Prize for Community Service. Chandra’s specialty is international business and much of his work focuses on intercultural communication and competence in a global economic environment.

President Merodie Hancock said, “Congratulations. I join the cabinet, the (Empire State College) foundation board and the rest of your colleagues in extending my thanks and appreciation for your extraordinary efforts on behalf of our students.

“Thanks also to all those who support the foundation’s mission and programs. The ceremony itself, and many other programs, would not be possible without your support.”

Chandra said, “I am speechless. I think that rewarding this is very important for the college. I dedicate the award to all the people who work to further diversity and inclusion at the college.”

Mary Morton, the college’s affirmative action officer, explained, “Dr. Chandra’s professional research focusing on intercultural communications and diversity issues in the workplace has made him extremely valuable to the college, the university and the community. In addition to mentoring students, teaching and developing curricula, he regularly assists college personnel and various community organizations in nurturing cultural competencies. Dr. Chandra has delivered numerous professional development programs on global cultural diversity at Empire State College and for public and private businesses across the U.S. He has a vast understanding and direct experience with the cultures of China, Singapore, Mexico, U.K, Canada, Cyprus, Lebanon, Taiwan, India and the U.S.”

Chandra was a past recipient of the Faculty Award from the Capital District Leadership Council Diversity and Inclusion. This prestigious award was given in October 2013 and acknowledges his cumulative scholarly and service contributions in the promotion of cultural diversity and inclusion. He has worked with the Saratoga Economic Development Council and the Office of Medicaid Inspector General to promote cultural diversity within their organizations and to promote the college. All of these activities have been pro bono. In recognition of his contributions in the field of global cultural diversity, he was invited in 2005 to join the Capital Region Diversity Committee.

Chandra helped pioneer an International Education Week celebration in the month of November for three consecutive years and was a  co-chair of the event. Working with the other two co-chairs, Dr. Pauline Chhooi and Interim Director of International Programs Francesca Cichello, he was instrumental in turning these three events into truly global and scholarly meetings of a wide range of Empire State College's international scholars, educators and students from the U.S., Honduras, Panama, Dominican Republic, Czech Republic, Albania and Lebanon, positively highlighting the internationalization achievements of the college. He also helped to provide pre-departure, international cross-cultural orientation to undergraduate students from SUNY Cobleskill before their travel to India.

About the Jane W. and Wally Altes Award for Exemplary Community Service

The Altes Prize for Exemplary Community Service is presented annually to a faculty member whose outstanding community service uses research and insights from his or her academic discipline to address pressing social problems. The award was established by Jane and Wally Altes. Jane served as the college’s long-time vice president for academic affairs and also as interim president. The award will be presented at a community open house at the recipient’s center later in the year.

About 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 is 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 73,000 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 SUNY 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



Media contact: Hope Ferguson, senior Wwiter

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