Daemen Community Observes Inaugural Founders Celebration

By | September 10, 2017
President Gary A. Olson

President Gary A. Olson addresses the campus community at the ceremony for Founders Bell.

Daemen College’s inaugural Founders Celebration was a resounding success as the campus community joined together for several special events held on Sept. 7 and 8 to commemorate the college’s rich history of academic excellence and to honor its heritage.

Starting the new annual tradition as Daemen marks its 70th anniversary this year, the two-day celebration kicked off with a dedication and ringing ceremony for the college’s Founders Bell. The new bell has been installed on campus adjacent to Founders Walkway outside Daemen’s historic Rosary Hall, site of the college’s earliest commencement ceremonies.

“Since our founding in 1947 as Rosary Hill College, Daemen has fostered a long and distinguished history of academic excellence, which over the decades our dedicated faculty and staff have carried on,” said Daemen President Gary A. Olson. “The ceremonial ringing of our new Founders Bell by seven distinguished members of our college community pays tribute to each decade of Daemen’s existence and celebrates our 70 years as a college of distinction.”

At the ringing ceremony, Dr. Michael Brogan, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college, said, “As a member of the Daemen community for 36 years as a student, proud alumnus, faculty member, and now as an administrator, I could not be more proud of our great college than I am today. Together, we will carry on the tradition of excellence started by our founders, the Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity, seven decades ago.”

The first day of festivities also featured the grand opening of Daemen’s newly named Paul A. Saffrin Center for Sustainability and Civic Engagement. The dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony included the unveiling of a plaque to commemorate the naming in honor of an historic $1 million gift from the Paul A. Saffrin Foundation.

In addition, Daemen’s history was showcased in an exceptional memorabilia exhibit with photos, clothing, posters, and many other mementos to spotlight each of the past seven decades.

The day wrapped up with a lecture by guest speaker Scott Dikkers, founder and longest-serving editor-in-chief of The Onion, one of the most popular online humor publications in the world, who addressed a capacity crowd in attendance.

The second day of Founders Celebration started with the third annual Daemen Day in Amherst, a special celebration to connect the college community with Main Street’s thriving business district. With free trolley rides available, the Daemen community had the opportunity to visit, shop, and dine at establishments in the Williamsville district.

Daemen Day also included a walking challenge for college employees, a student organization fair, and a women’s soccer match, among other activities.

Employees at Daemen Day in Amherst

Daemen’s first Founders Celebration concluded with a 70th Anniversary Gala, where the public launch of the college’s first-ever comprehensive campaign was announced. The campaign will support three priorities: endowed student scholarships and professorships, campus facilities, and academic programs.