Trustee Dedicates Tree to Founding Sisters

By | January 17, 2024

Rebecca McCormick-Boyle and Sister Jo-Anne Grabowski ‘73 stand with certificate of appreciation.A newly planted tree in Daemen University’s Saffrin Public Square stands in honor of the Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity, who established the institution as Rosary Hill College in 1947.

Rebecca McCormick-Boyle, a member of the university’s board of trustees and the chief integration officer at Catholic Health, purchased a tree as part of the university’s Sponsor a Tree Challenge, which allows donors to purchase or contribute toward the purchase of mature trees for the quad.

“The Saffrin Public Square is such a beautiful centerpiece on the campus; a space that facilitates personal reflection as well as meaningful connections,” said McCormick-Boyle, who retired as a rear admiral from the United States Navy. “I hope passersby take note of the plaque and pause to reflect on the many contributions of the Sisters of St. of Francis of Penance and Christian Charity to our community and most specifically here at Daemen University.”

Mother Magdalene Daemen, O.S.F., founded the congregation of the Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity in the Netherlands. The Sisters were asked by Jesuit priests in Buffalo to come and serve Roman Catholic families of German descent. They would go on to serve the Diocese of Buffalo.

In 1947, the Sisters established Rosary Hill College, which was originally a liberal arts college for women. It became co-educational in 1971 and was renamed Daemen College in 1976 as an independent, nonsectarian institution. It earned university status in 2022.

“This gesture truly means so much to us,” said Sister Jo-Anne Grabowski ‘73, the provincial minister of the Sisters of St. Francis and a university trustee. “We want to thank Rebecca for honoring the Sisters who founded and extended their commitment to academic excellence at the college for nearly 30 years.”

A commemorative paver will be added to the tree this spring.

Anyone interested in sponsoring a tree in the Saffrin Public Square can call the Office of Institutional Advancement at 716-839-8212.