The Daemen College community commemorated this year’s Founders Celebration with several new events that included the official opening of renovated science facilities and an inaugural Day of Service.
The celebration, which was held Sept. 19 to 21, kicked off with the ceremonial ringing of Founders Bell, located outside of Rosary Hall. Representing various areas of the college community, each bell ringer did a symbolic ring to denote one of the seven decades since the college was founded in 1947.
This year’s bell ringers were Daemen President Gary Olson and Dr. Lynn Worsham; John Yurtchuk, chair of the Daemen Board of Trustees; Catherine LePage-Campbell ’84, board trustee; Ricardo Marquez, Student Government Association president; Dr. Greg Ford, Faculty Senate president and chair of the physical therapy department; Jo-Anne Grabowski, O.S.F. ‘73, of the Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity, the college’s founding congregation; and Dr. Alex Pleshkewych, emeritus faculty member.
Added to this year’s Founders Celebration was the official opening and ribbon cutting for Daemen’s newly renovated science facilities in Duns Scotus Hall. The $2.1 million project includes upgrades to science classrooms, a general biology laboratory, and a second biology laboratory and research space, which were completed for the fall semester.
At the opening, Daemen President Gary Olson, said, “The strength of our science programs is founded on Daemen’s dedication to offering exceptional classroom and laboratory experiences for our students. As we continue to work on improving our science facilities, this multi-phase major initiative will ensure that our students have access to the best and most advanced science learning environments.”
The first day of festivities also featured the unveiling of Curtis Hall, which has undergone nearly $1 million in major facility enhancements. Improvements to the historic building, designated a landmark in Amherst, will maximize use of the space for the college’s Institute for Government and Nonprofit Innovation, Training, and Evaluation (IGNITE). Curtis Hall also serves as the primary location for Daemen’s social work, sociology, physician assistant studies, and psychological sciences programs.
“It is truly amazing to see the results of this major renovation project come to fruition,” said Dr. Michael Brogan, senior vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college. “It is a project that balances preserving the historic elements that make Curtis Hall unique with improvements that elevate this facility for IGNITE and our academic programs.”
The second day of Founders Celebration started with a dedication ceremony for the Megan Racinowski Memorial, named honor of a Daemen student who passed away in 2018. The memorial is located near the Sabatino Reflective Garden on the grounds next to Alumni House.
Also on Friday, the fifth annual Daemen Day in Amherst, a special celebration to connect the college community with Main Street’s thriving business district, provided faculty, staff, and students a chance to visit, shop, and dine at establishments in the Amherst and Williamsville business districts.
In the evening, Founders Celebration concluded with the annual Scholarship Gala, the college’s signature event to raise scholarship support for students. All proceeds from the 2019 gala will contribute toward Daemen’s Drive to 75 campaign, the college’s largest-ever comprehensive campaign.
The gala also featured the presentation of the Community Excellence Award to Stuart Angert, who has dedicated his life to serving the Western New York community.
On Saturday, more than 55 faculty, staff, and students pitched in to assist various local organizations for the first Daemen Day of Service. Volunteers helped out at 716 Ministries, Family Promise of Western New York, and The Teachers Desk. Participants also worked on projects on campus grounds, and made reusable bags for the campus food pantry available for students in need.
Among other events held during Founders Celebration included a memorabilia exhibit that highlighted Daemen’s history; a reception to honor faculty and staff marking milestone years of service to the college; an intramural basketball and volleyball tournament; an on-campus student organization and community fair; a TGIF tent party and bonfire; and the Daemen Volleyball Classic.