Daemen Mourns Loss of Cherished Alum

By | May 22, 2020
Dolores Sapienza sitting on a bench behind rosary hall between two studetns.

Dolores Attea Sapienza ‘53

Beloved graduate Dolores Attea Sapienza ’53, a member of Daemen College’s second graduating class and a lifelong supporter of her alma mater, passed away on May 16, after a brief illness. She was 88.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Dolores, one of our most cherished alums,” said Daemen President Gary Olson. “For more than 65 years, Dolores dedicated herself to our college and her kindness, support, and devotion has left an indelible impact on the Daemen family. Dolores truly embodied what it meant to be a graduate of our college and she will be dearly missed.”

Dolores Sapienza is shown with Jacki Rizzo ’70, President Gary Olson, and Dr. Lois Grollitsch ’70.

Dolores Sapienza is shown with Jacki Rizzo ’70, President Gary Olson, and Dr. Lois Grollitsch ’70.

Sapienza earned a bachelor’s degree in homemaking from Daemen (then Rosary Hill College) in 1953. In collaboration with President Mary Angela Canavan, she was instrumental in planning the college’s 25th anniversary in 1972, a drive and passion she also used to assist with several alumni celebrations. Known for her vast collection of hats, she proudly donned a different one each time she attended a Daemen event through the years.

Inspiring countless others to reconnect with their alma mater, Sapienza received the college’s Distinguished Alumni Award for her tireless devotion to Daemen and was a charter member of the M. Angela Canavan Legacy Society.

Class of 1953 graduate Dolores Attea Sapienza (far right).

Class of 1953 graduate
Dolores Attea Sapienza (far right).

Sapienza once said, “I have always appreciated the gifts that Daemen gave me. I am proud that we have such creative and wonderful students following in our footsteps. They are like family.”

After graduating from Daemen, Sapienza worked for Erie County Child Welfare Services. She then moved to Norfolk, Va., where she was director of service clubs for the USO and served for a period of time in Germany.

Active in the Amherst community, Sapienza was a founding member of the Amherst Youth Board and the Amherst Museum (now the Buffalo Niagara Heritage Village), which recognized her by naming its ballroom in her honor. She was also co-chair of the Amherst Women’s Interclub Council, and was active in the Williamsville Central School District, among many other roles and organizations she was involved with throughout her life.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a celebration of life for Sapienza will be held next year.