Daemen Board of Trustees Chair John Yurtchuk was awarded the Presidential Medal—the college’s highest recognition of individuals who serve as a strong, positive role model for students and alums—in a special ceremony held July 29 on campus in Rosary Hall.

The award is reserved for those who have also made contributions toward the growth and advancement of Daemen, and have invested substantial time, effort, and resources to improve the world and humanity.

“Only a very small, elite group of exceptionally accomplished individuals has ever earned this rare distinction,” Gary Olson, college president, told those gathered. “I can think of no one more deserving to receive our highest honor.”

“Education has always held a special place for me,” said Yurtchuk, addressing family, friends, and invited guests. “I am proud and honored to receive this distinction from Dr. Olson, who has shown tremendous leadership at Daemen—a special place we care for deeply.”

Yurtchuk, a trustee since 2014, is chairman and owner of Calspan Holdings—an industry leader in flight control, test pilot training, and a wide range of transportation testing and research.

A real estate developer since 1982, Yurtchuk also founded Matrix Development Corporation and developed millions of square feet of commercial real estate for a range of high-profile clients—including KeyBank, Northwestern Mutual Life, John Hancock Life Insurance, Ford Motor Credit, and Bank One—in many U.S. locations, including New York City, Florida, and Western New York.

In 2016, he received an honorary doctorate from Daemen.