Rosary Hall

Two-day, multi-event Founders Celebration marks Daemen’s 70th anniversary and kicks off comprehensive capital campaign

It’s a first. Actually, it’s a number of “firsts,” as Daemen College holds its inaugural Founders Celebration on September 7 and 8, 2017 featuring a wide range of festivities to commemorate the college’s origins, history, and vision for the future.

The campus-wide celebration will unite students, alumni, faculty, staff, trustees and the community in celebrating a confluence of historic moments and exciting events taking place at Daemen.

“We are at a pivotal time in our history, and we have more than one cause for celebration,” explains Daemen President Gary A. Olson. “The annual two-day Founders Celebration will give us the opportunity to acknowleddge our institutional roots and reaffirm the college’s mission and values.”

The First Founders Bell to Ring in the Anniversary

The Founders Celebration will officially kick-off with recognition of Daemen’s 70th anniversary since it was founded in 1947 as Rosary Hill College by the Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity. The celebration will begin on September 7 at 11:30 a.m. with the unveiling and ringing of the Daemen Founders Bell, an historic bell crafted in 1858 by the renowned Meneely foundry in Troy, N.Y. A gift to Daemen from Iskalo Development Corp., the historical bell originally graced St. Margaret’s School in North Buffalo.

“The bell symbolizes the historic nature of Daemen/Rosary Hill and will become an iconic mark of our image as a college of national distinction,” notes Olson.

College leaders, representatives of the Sisters of St. Francis, and other dignitaries will be present for the first ringing of the bell. Located outside of Rosary Hall, the college’s original building and the site of early commencement ceremonies, the bell is installed on a stone base, denoting the solidity and stability of the school over its seven decades of existence.

First Comprehensive Capital Campaign

The Founders Celebration also serves to launch the college’s first-ever, comprehensive capital campaign, as Daemen prepares to build on its academic excellence for the future. With a fundraising goal of $22 million, the campaign will support three key areas: campus facilities, student scholarships, and faculty and academic programs.

“This is our first comprehensive capital campaign aimed at ensuring Daemen will continue to compete with the best colleges in the nation,” says Craig Harris, vice president for institutional advancement.

A 70th Anniversary Gala, to be held the evening of September 8 at The Buffalo Club as part of Founders Celebration, will launch the new capital campaign with all gala proceeds going to support student scholarships.

First $1 Million Gift

The Founders Celebration also includes the dedication of Daemen’s Paul A. Saffrin Center for Sustainability and Civic Engagement. The college received an unprecedented gift of $1 million from the Paul A. Saffrin Foundation, the largest private gift in the school’s history. Saffrin, a local business executive, began the foundation to help promote civic engagement efforts that make a difference in society.

“Words cannot express our gratitude to Mr. Saffrin for this historic gift that, appropriately, leads off our capital campaign,” says Olson.

The donation will be used to support what was formerly known as the Center for Sustainable Communities and Civic Engagement, created in 2001 to provide students service learning opportunities that promote civic responsibility.

Grand Opening of Daemen’s First Athletics Field

Another feature of this year’s Founders Celebration is the grand opening of the college’s athletics field constructed in partnership with nearby The Park School. This summer, an existing soccer field at The Park School was renovated to bring the field up to NCAA levels and thereby help Daemen recruit Division II caliber athletes to the college’s soccer program. After the grand opening ceremony, the Daemen Wildcats women’s soccer team will play the Lake Erie College Storm.

Other events to look forward to during this year’s Founders Celebration are an exhibit of memorabilia dating back to the college’s origins; a public lecture by Scott Dikkers, founder of the satirical news publication, The Onion; and the third annual Daemen Day in Amherst event, a day-long festivity connecting the Daemen community with Main Street’s thriving business district.

This Celebration Won’t Be the Last

The Founders Celebration will be an annual event at Daemen College with a variety of different activities and festivities each year. “The Founders Celebration is for the entire Daemen community and the Western New York community as a whole — all are welcome,” says Olson. “We are proud to be Amherst’s college, the only private, four-year college in town, and we want to share our enthusiasm and excitement with everyone.”

Visit for more information and complete details on the Founders Celebration.