Katherine Wolfe-Lyga, director of SUNY Oswego’s Counseling Services Center, recently earned a national award for her far-reaching leadership in the field of campus mental health.

The Association of University and College Counseling Center (AUCCCD) conferred its AUCCCD President’s Award on Wolfe-Lyga “to recognize her meritorious contributions,” Barry A. Schreier, chair of AUCCCD’s Communication Committee, wrote in notifying the campus. 

“I was very surprised and very humbled,” Wolfe-Lyga said. “Over the last year, all of my colleagues have worked so hard at managing their ‘day jobs’ while supporting the work of this organization, so it was an unexpected honor to be individually acknowledged like this.”

“The AUCCCD award is a national recognition and highlights not only Kate Wolfe-Lyga’s contribution nationally, but is a significant recognition of Kate Wolfe-Lyga as a national leader from your campus,” Schreier noted, adding it shows “that your counseling center and campus employs a national leader in campus mental health.” 

AUCCCD, the largest organization of campus mental health leaders in the world, annually recognizes member achievements that exemplify excellence in the promotion of mental health for colleges and universities.

The recognition really supports a team and college-wide effort, said Wolfe-Lyga, who has provided leadership at Oswego, her undergraduate alma mater, since January 2016. 

“This acknowledgment of the work is a statement of the support that I am given,” Wolfe-Lyga noted. “SUNY Oswego's leadership understands mental health support must reach beyond the confines of Counseling Services and demonstrates a commitment to the mental health of our students. Additionally, the collaboration with colleagues in other departments and the talent and strength of the counselors in the department enables me to provide meaningful support in national efforts in college mental health.”

Impressive accomplishments

“Sharon Mitchell, who served as the AUCCCD president during this time, cited my contribution to the stability of the organization during significant change and identifying opportunities for additional mental health advocacy at the federal level,” Wolfe-Lyga added.

The most recent accomplishments thanks to Wolfe-Lyga’s leadership include:

  • The Counseling Services Center earned prestigious recognition through accreditation from the International Accreditation of Counseling Services, which shows the college is meeting competitive standards designed and created by other counseling services professionals. Accreditors praised Wolfe-Lyga’s leadership, valued and supported by upper administration, as well as a strong and diverse staff, excellent outreach efforts and individual counseling.
  • Counseling Services secured a federal grant of nearly $280,000 over the course of three years to strengthen the college’s mental health crisis counseling capabilities. The grant from Garrett Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention program through the Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration supports training campus members how to teach and use QPR -- Question, Persuade and Refer -- with those trainers then helping others learn the strategies.
  • Oswego was an early adopter of the Thriving Campus application, a program that connects students with counseling services and which SUNY Chancellor Jim Malatras announced would be adopted throughout the State University system as part of a comprehensive plan to expand access to mental health services to every student at SUNY’s 64 campuses. 

Wolfe-Lyga earned her bachelor’s in public justice from SUNY Oswego, and a master’s in community counseling from Syracuse University.

For more information on SUNY Oswego’s mental health services, visit the Counseling Services Center’s website.