The exceptional achievements and valuable contributions of six outstanding Daemen College alumni were celebrated at the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner held in their honor on Nov. 7.
In addressing the more than 150 family, friends and members of the college community in attendance, Daemen President Gary A. Olson noted, “Since Daemen’s founding, our graduates have done much to serve others both in the United States and abroad, have admirably served this nation’s armed forces, enriched culture and the arts, served their communities and assisted those in need, and taught literally thousands of young minds in classrooms across the country and around the world. We are immensely proud of the level of distinction, excellence and achievements garnered by this year’s accomplished honorees.”
Praising the honorees, Dr. Richanne C. Mankey, vice president for institutional advancement, said, “The Distinguished Alumni Awards celebrate graduates who are making a difference in the lives of others and who have taken their education to heights they might not have dreamed of when they were students.”
Introduced by mentors or other individuals who have had a positive impact on their lives, the 2014 award winners were: Catherine Bosch, ’98, and Cynthia Koscielny-Karcher, ’98, Dedication to the College; Dr. Timothy Fisher, ’02, Advancement in Career; Margaret Hardy, ’56, Outstanding Service to the Community; and McKenzie Higgins, ’09, Graduate of the Last Decade.
The evening culminated with President Olson presenting the Distinguished Alumna Award, the highest recognition bestowed, to Dr. Veronica Lee, DNP, ’06, ’09, ’12, a U.S. Air Force Reserve officer.
“The life of Dr. Lee, our Distinguished Alumna for 2014, is a model of the spirit of this institution,” he said. “She exemplifies the highest ideals of this award by giving so much of herself to her profession, Daemen, the community and our country.”
Past award winners representing alumni across the decades were also in attendance at the event.
Dr. Veronica Lee, DNP, ’06, ’09, ’12
Dr. Veronica Lee, a board certified nurse practitioner (NP), holds a doctor of nursing practice and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in nursing, all from Daemen College.
An independent contractor, Lee currently serves as a locum tenens healthcare provider to help deliver quality patient care across New York State. Also, for more than a decade, she has dedicated herself to providing tutoring services to health professions students.
In response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Lee joined the U.S. Air Force Reserve and continues today to serve as an officer. She has held different roles in various areas, including medical readiness, nursing education/training, occupation health, immunization, and as a military historian. Among her military honors are an American flag from overseas “flown by request with wounded warriors,” and a certificate of appreciation from Baghdad Hospital for her “faithful support to our nation and to the United States Armed Forces.”
Lee has been an active, committed volunteer with the college’s Student Veterans Alliance and is an inductee in the organization’s Hall of Fame. She has greatly enjoyed her Daemen years and credits her supportive husband, Lou, and faculty/staff in helping her to achieve her goals.
Born and raised in British Hong Kong, Lee received a four-year degree in communication and design in Toronto, Canada, where she became a professional graphic designer for 25 years. Moving to the U.S. in 1995, she has been lauded as a successful dance instructor and choreographer for her well-established dance studio and for her creative dance contributions in the community. She found greatest personal fulfillment in classes she created for hearing/visually impaired and mentally/ physically challenged individuals.
Since 2000, Lee, a Depew, N.Y. resident, has pursued furthering her education and forging career paths while tirelessly working first as a certified nurse assistant, and later as a licensed practical nurse and a registered nurse, and now as an NP. She was consistently on the honor roll and received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence and the All American Scholar Award. Named Student Employee of the Year, she was also inducted into Sigma Theta Tau and Phi Theta Kappa honor societies and was on the Dean’s List.
Dedication to the College
Catherine Bosch, ’98
Catherine Bosch, who earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Daemen College, is assistant vice president and fiduciary advisor at M&T Bank, where she has worked for nearly 40 years. In this leadership role, she is committed to ensuring each trust is administered in accordance with its provisions and that the trust’s terms are carried out with the utmost fiduciary oversight.
Bosch joined M&T Bank in 1975 and has been with its wealth advisory group for more than 30 years. She has earned a certified trust and financial advisor designation, and, most recently, completed special needs trust school. She also has presented to elder law attorneys on Article 81 Guardianship Law.
A dedicated member of the Buffalo Chapter Alumni Council, Bosch has served as the organization’s president and member-at-large. She’s been actively involved over the past decade in several alumni events and programs, including homecoming, the Buffalo Chapter holiday party, reunion weekend, and many other activities.
Outside Daemen, Bosch serves on the Mount St. Mary High School Band Parents Executive Committee and is CYO youth director at Holy Spirit Church. She lives in Buffalo with her husband, Frank, and daughter and Daemen alumna Kimberley Bosch, ’12, ’13.
Cynthia Koscielny-Karcher, ’98
Cynthia Koscielny-Karcher was among the first to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Daemen College’s Weekend Business Program and was a member of the Delta Mu Delta Honor Society. Currently a client relation specialist at Sheridan Benefits, her diverse business background has included more than a decade in the insurance industry.
Karcher comes from a military family with her father having served 38 years active duty in the U.S. Army. Tapping into this background, she is active with VetHerd (Helping Returning and Disabled Veterans) and the New York State VFW. Her project work in this area has included an annual veteran’s parade, the literacy event World Book Night at the Buffalo VA Medical Center, and the New York State VFW Convention. She’s also developed a warm friendship with members of Daemen’s Student Veterans Alliance.
At Daemen, Karcher is serving as secretary of the National Alumni Board of Governors. She is a past memberat- large and secretary of the Buffalo Chapter Alumni Council and was previously on the Distinguished Alumni Selection Committee. She has also chaired or been involved with many events, including Fall Fest and Artpark and MusicalFare Theatre events, and has been an avid supporter of various events chaired by the Buffalo Alumni Chapter.
Beyond this, Karcher has provided internship opportunities to Daemen students to help them gain practical work experience and build their skills as they pursue their careers. Remembering the solid education and values she received at Daemen, it is her hope that her involvement will keep Daemen in the forefront for future alumni. Karcher is a lifelong resident of Lancaster, N.Y., where she lives with her husband and son.
Advancement In Career
Dr. Timothy Fisher, ’02
Dr. Timothy Fisher received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Daemen College and went on to earn a doctor of podiatric medicine (DPM) and surgery degree from Barry University in Miami. After completing his residency at Miami Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center, he became a clinical instructor and was one of the first diabetic foot fellows at the University of Arizona’s College of Medicine and its associated Southern Arizona Limb Salvage Alliance, where he was instrumental in a 50 percent reduction of the major amputation rate for diabetics treated at the university’s medical center.
Today, Fisher is a practicing podiatric physician specializing in treating geriatric patients and those with diabetes. He is also consulting podiatric surgeon and past director of the American Diabetic Limb Salvage Institute in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, which is the first center of its kind in the Middle East to help combat diabetic complications in a population with one of the highest rates of diabetes in the world.
Fisher has published numerous international, peer reviewed, articles, and book chapters on the treatment of foot ulcers and amputation prevention. He has also participated in many U.S and internationally funded research studies promoting healing of diabetic foot ulcers.
Now back in the U.S., Fisher has a private practice in Houston and is pursuing opportunities to create a limb salvage center similar to those he was involved with in Arizona and the UAE.
He resides in Houston with his wife and Daemen alumna, Almira, and their daughter, Kyah.
Outstanding Service to the Community
Margaret Hardy, ’56
The youngest of four children, South Buffalo native Margaret Dempsey Hardy was inspired by her parents in her longstanding dedication of service to the community. A graduate of Mount Mercy Academy, she went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in art with a minor in education from Rosary Hill College (now Daemen College). As a student, she designed and carved a woodcut inspired by St. Francis’ “Canticle of the Sun.” Decades later, a print of her artwork was presented to Pope Francis and another to the prior of the monastery of Saint Benedict in Italy.
Hardy taught art in the Buffalo Public Schools before becoming a stay-athome mother to raise her six children. Returning to the workforce 20 years later, she worked for major accounting and tax firms, which led her to return to Daemen to participate in an income tax preparation course. This new skill landed her a bookkeeper position at the law firm of Hellings, Morey, Kresse, Rickers & Whissel.
Hardy, an Amherst, N.Y. resident, then moved on to the Margaret L.Wendt Foundation, where she has been the foundation’s sole employee for 28 years. Serving as the administration contact, she is an integral force for the foundation and serves as a bridge between the trustees and grant seekers. She is applauded for her unwavering sense of commitment, dedication and loyalty.
Hardy’s role with the foundation has been vital to the human relationship that the organization is known for and she wholeheartedly exemplifies the qualities of Margaret L. Wendt — “a woman whose benevolence, fairness and kindness is a lesson for all.”
During her extensive tenure with the Buffalo-based foundation, Hardy has been involved in implementing the generosity of the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation’s legacy for many important Western New York projects and institutions, including the preservation of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Darwin Martin House, the restoration of the National Landmark Roycroft Campus, Forest Lawn’s Margaret L. Wendt Archive & Resource Center, and grants that have supported the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Roswell Park Cancer Institute and several grants to Daemen.
Graduate of the Last Decade
McKenzie Higgins, ’09
McKenzie Higgins holds a bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in religious studies from Daemen College. She then pursued a law degree from Western Michigan University- Cooley Law School in Auburn Hills, Mich., and a master of laws in criminal law and trial advocacy also from Cooley Law School.
While attending law school, Higgins was an assistant prosecuting extern in the Lapeer County Prosecutor’s Office in Michigan and an extern in the Erie County District Attorney’s Office Felony Trials Bureau, and was involved with other valuable opportunities to further her experience in the field of law. At Cooley, she received the school’s Leadership Achievement Award, which is presented to a graduating student who has demonstrated dedication to the campus community and the legal profession.
Higgins is currently a legal document review analyst at M&T Bank and an independent contractor for Access Legal Care in Garden City, Mich. Her article, “Total Inclusion: Opening Therapeutic Justice Courts to Medical Marihuana Patients in Michigan,” will be published early next year in the Western Michigan University Cooley Journal of Clinical and Practical Law. The article evaluates the current level of acceptance of marihuana patients and offers proposals based on social and scientific evidence for the more complete inclusion of patients into these programs.
As founder and captain of the Daemen Ride for Roswell team, Higgins’ passion and dedication to the effort has resulted in more than $4,000 being raised since the college’s team first participated in 2010. Its success is even more remarkable given that she was attending law school and living outside Western New York at the time the Daemen team was established.
A Cheektowaga, N.Y. resident, Higgins is a member of the American Bar Association and the Incorporated Society of Irish-American Lawyers.