Michael Paestella Earns Award at SUNY Oswego

Mike Paestella

Dedication to student involvement, engagement and growth has earned Michael (Mike) Paestella, interim director of SUNY Oswego’s Office of Student Engagement and Leadership, the 2023 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Professional Service.

Paestella’s work has been crucial for students because membership in student organizations comprises a large component of their out-of-class time and has enormous benefits, nominators wrote, as this leads to making lifelong friends, gaining valuable leadership experience and learning how to make a difference in their campus, the community and the wider world.

Letters of support noted that in addition to his consistent excellence in recognizing, cultivating and supporting student leadership, Paestella continuously seeks innovative solutions, serves as a role model for colleagues and students, and finds any and every way possible to uplift the campus community.

Paestella joined SUNY Oswego in 2001 as assistant director of campus life for student organization services. In 2007, a campus transformationboth physical with the opening of Marano Campus Center and organizationally with expanded servicesresulted in Paestella’s role growing into assistant director of campus life and director of student involvement and then associate director of leadership development before stepping in to fill the interim director role.

After finishing his dual bachelor’s in philosophy and geology from Potsdam, Paestella earned his master’s in student affairs and higher education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He also holds two executive certificates — in leadership and development and in advanced intercultural management — from the University of Notre Dame.

On the Oswego campus, Paestella earned the Outstanding Adviser Award from the Asian Student Association and Delta Phi Epsilon Sorority along with the Division of Student Affairs Student Engagement Award in 2022.

He has also served as vice president and board member of the Oswego City-County Youth Bureau and on the Oswego Children’s Center board of directors.