Daemen College recognized the achievements of five outstanding graduates at its 30th annual Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner held on Nov. 4.

“We are pleased to celebrate this year’s recipients for their extraordinary professional achievements and distinguished service in our communities and to our college,” said Daemen President Gary A. Olson. “Congratulations to all our award winners.”

Daemen’s 2016 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients are: Col. Jean Anderson ’92 of Chesterfield, Va., Advancement in Career; Jeanne O’Grady Ryan ’63 of New York City, Dedication to the College; Toni Smith Wilson ’69 (posthumously), Service to the Community; and Lisa Schimdt ’13 of Grand Island, Graduate of the Last Decade.

The evening event concluded with the presentation of the Distinguished Alumni Award to Pamela Ryan Jacobs Vogt ’62 of Buffalo.

In presenting the highest honor awarded to a graduate, Olson said, “Pam is well-known in our Western New York community for her philanthropic support and unwavering dedication to our region. We commend Pam for her many successes and her commitment of time and talents to a range of organizations over the past four decades.”

Past Distinguished Alumni Award recipients, family, friends, and members of the college community joined in the celebration for Daemen’s 2016 award honorees.

Award Winners
(L–R): Pamela Ryan Jacobs Vogt, Christopher Wilson (accepting on behalf of his late wife, Toni Smith Wilson), President Gary A. Olson, Lisa Schmidt, Colonel Jean Anderson, and Jeanne O’Grady Ryan.

Distinguished Alumna

Pamela Ryan Jacobs Vogt ’62

Pamela Ryan Jacobs Vogt is well-known in the Wester n New York community for her enduring philanthropic support and dedication to the region.

After graduating from Holy Angels Academy, Jacobs Vogt earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Daemen College (formerly Rosary Hill College) and then pursued graduate studies at the University at Buffalo.

A devoted philanthropist and education advocate for more than 40 years wit h many local organizations, she has served on several area educational boards. Active in the community, she is chair of the Lawrence D. Jacobs M.D. Memorial Foundation and is a founding member of the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation, for which she serves as a trustee. She is currently involved with various charity boards, including Jefferson Awards and Artpark & Company.

Jacobs Vogt’s extensive contributions as a member of the Daemen College Board of Trustees and as a strong supporter of the college have been recognized wit h the college’s President’s Medal and an honorary doctorate of humane letters.

A lifelong resident of Buffalo, Jacobs Vogt is the proud grandmother of 11 grandchildren.

Advancement in Career

Colonel Jean Anderson ’92

Colonel Jean Anderson, who earned a bachelor’s degree in physical therapy from Daemen College, has served in the U.S. Army Reserves since graduating from the college and receiving her commission through ROTC at Canisius College.

Previously chief of the Reserve Component Physical Therapy Section, Anderson is serving as reserve component IMA to the chief of the Army Medical Specialist Corps. She has also served as the Army Medical Command’s lead for the Soldier 2020 initiative, which aims to better match today’s soldiers with the demands of military occupational specialties and has opened all specialties to women. Beyond this, she has instructed the Command and General Staff Officers course, and has served as course director for U.S. forces in Germany, Italy, and Kosovo.

Anderson has received numerous performance awards, including five Meritorious Service Medals and induction into the Order of Military Medical Merit. She earned a master’s degree in management with a concentration in human resources management from the University of Phoenix.

She resides in Chesterfield, Va., with her husband, Dr. Marvin Paul Anderson, and three children.

“We are pleased to celebrate this year’s recipients for their extraordinary professional achievements and distinguished service in our communities and to our college.”
Daemen President Gary A. Olson

Dedication to the College

Jeanne O’Grady Ryan ’63

Jeanne O’Grady Ryan graduated from Holy Angels Academy and went on to receive a bachelor’s degree in English from Daemen Col lege (formerly Rosary Hill College). She then moved with her husband to New York City, where she received a Regent’s Advance Study Fellowship at New York University.

During her time in New York City, Ryan became involved in various causes and programs, including the Bloomingdale Family Prog ram, a prototype for the Head Start Program. She also assumed ownership of Second Ac t Childrenswear.

After earning a degree in accounting, Ryan went to have a more than 25-year career providing accounting services to a variety of clients.

An active member of the college’s New York City alumni chapter, Ryan has hosted and attended many events in the city as well as participated in alumni events in the Adirondacks. She has also served on several reunion committees for the Class of 1963. Born and raised in Buffalo, Ryan resides in New York City and spends summers in the Adirondacks.

Born and raised in Buffalo, Ryan resides in New York City and spends summers in the Adirondacks.

Service to the Community

Toni Smith Wilson ’69


Born and raised in Bradford, Pa., Toni Smith Wilson earned a bachelor’s degree in theater arts from Daemen College (formerly Rosary Hill College) and a master’s degree in directing from Case Western Reserve University. She also studied mime, Alexander Technique, voice, and performance.

In 1970, Wilson co-founded with Rosalind Cramer the Theater of Youth Company (TOY), where she was an actor and director for a number of productions. She also taught acting, creative dramatics, and voice at the Buffalo Theater Workshop, Fairmount Center for the Arts, and at various other institutions. Active with the New York State Theater Education Association, she presented workshops in auditioning, Alexander Technique, and stage makeup.

The centerpiece of Wilson’s career was her 40-year tenure at the Buffalo Seminary, where she taught theater, headed the fine arts department, and directed school plays.

Wilson was passionate about many causes, including NARAL, Planned Parenthood, and ACLU. In retirement, she performed with the Buffalo Soundpainting Ensemble and directed plays for the Brazen Faced Varlets and Subversive Theater.

Toni Smith Wilson passed away from colon cancer on May 28, 2016 with her husband of 43 years, Christopher Wilson, and daughter, Samantha, at her side.

Graduate of the Last Decade

Lisa Schmidt ’13

Lisa Schmidt, who earned a master’s degree in executive leadership and change from Daemen College, is vice president/chief operating officer of core ser vices at Buffa lo General Medical Center, a part of the Kaleida Health system.

Dur ing her nearly 30-year care er wit h Kaleida, Schmidt h as held vari ous management positions, including vice president of strategic initiatives and implementation and senior director of ambulator y services. She has also served in other roles at Buffalo Genera l Medical Center/Women and Childre n’s Ho spital of Buffalo and at Mill ard Fillmore Gates Circle Hospital.

A Six Sigma Master Black Belt, Schmidt serves on the Buffalo Prenatal/Perinatal Association Board of Directors and the organization’s Sustainability Committee, and is a committee member and past chair of the HighPointe on Michigan Pediatric Unit.

Schmidt, a Grand Island resident, is an advocate for the continued connection between Kaleida Health and Daemen’s ELC Program. She credits the diverse learning experience provided by the program with advancing her growth as a leader.

In addition to her degree from Daemen, Schmidt holds a bachelor’s degree from Medaille College.

Past Distinguished Alumni Award recipients joined the 2016 winners at the celebration dinner.
Past Distinguished Alumni Award recipients joined the 2016 winners at the celebration dinner.