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Cayuga’s Lee receives Lifetime Achievement Award

A staple of student activities and engagement at Cayuga Community College received a lifetime achievement award this semester for his tireless work with students.

Professor Norman Lee, who is also the Director of Student Activities at Cayuga, received the Lifetime Achievement award for Student Life from the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities (APCA) in March. Lee has led Student Activities at the College since 1996.

“Norman has been a long-time APCA member, and has selflessly devoted himself to the service of students and the student life community,” said APCA Executive Director Eric Lambert. “We are proud to have him as an active and vibrant part of our organization.”


As someone who has spent the past two-plus decades organizing student events on campus, Lee feels his biggest responsibilities are helping students connect with each other and the College.

“This work requires patience, and an ability to work with students at all levels of their academic, career, and personal development, and to get them to work together as a group,” said Lee. “The most important part is to work with students to create a sense of belonging, so their college experience is about more than coursework. By working with students and other staff and faculty, I think I’ve been able to do that and make a difference for our students.”

Though he’s involved with several initiatives at Cayuga, his primary focus has always been leading Student Activities and coordinating student events. 


That responsibility has changed over time, said Lee. When he started in 1996, a small concert in the College café was typical of on-campus events. Now, as students enjoy more advanced technology, he’s adapted that element into his programming.

Organizing events students can enjoy during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge, said Lee, but it’s also forced him to be more creative.

“Like everyone else, we shifted to entirely online events, and we found we had to take some chances to determine what students will enjoy in a virtual setting,” he said. “But once we identified events they liked, we worked on reimagining them each semester so students had enjoyable opportunities to connect with each other and the College.”


His work with students isn’t limited to events, though. Lee serves as the advisor for several on-campus clubs and organizations, including Student Government and one of the College’s largest clubs, a chapter of the National Society of Leadership & Success.

Dr. Nicole Adsitt, Cayuga’s Director for Student Engagement and Academic Advisement, said Lee deserved the APCA award for his work throughout his career, and particularly for his efforts during the pandemic.

“Norman’s energy and his enthusiasm for our students is unmistakable, and his commitment to creating an engaging, vibrant atmosphere where students can be involved on-campus while building their personal and career skills has been a constant at Cayuga for almost three decades,” she said. “Congratulations to Norman for earning the Lifetime Achievement Award from the APCA. It is certainly well-deserved.”

Along with his work with Student Activities, Lee teaches courses such as Foundations for College Success and Innovation and Creativity that provide students an opportunity to develop core academic and career skills. He also conducts the orientation for new students in the fall and spring semesters each academic year. 



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