As another exciting and productive academic year draws to a close, we extend congratulations to Daemen’s Class of 2017 graduates, who received their college degree this year and are now beginning a new phase in their lives and careers. Our undergraduate and graduate commencement ceremonies are truly a special experience that create lasting memories for our graduates and for their families who supported them throughout their educational journey. The perfect spring weather served as the ideal backdrop to the excitement and celebration of commencement day.

The college marked many achievements during the 2016–17 academic year. Especially noteworthy was an historic $1 million gift from the Paul A. Saffrin Foundation, the largest private gift in the college’s history. This generous donation will support our sustainability and civic engagement efforts. Daemen has a longstanding commitment to civic engagement within the Buffalo-Niagara region. Each year, our students contribute between 20,000 and 30,000 hours of community service to the underprivileged, and Mr. Saffrin’s gift will help us expand these efforts. You can read more about Paul Saffrin’s generous gift in this issue of Daemen Today.

Daemen continues to be recognized as a college of national distinction. For the ninth consecutive year, Daemen has earned national recognition as a “2016–17 College of Distinction” in recognition of the institution’s excellence in undergraduate higher education. For the eighth consecutive year, the college has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll—which is the highest federal recognition an institution can receive—for its commitment to the community, service learning, and civic engagement. Also, Daemen was recently ranked nationally in the inaugural Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings, which focus on student success and learning. This is just a sampling of the many kinds of national recognition that the college received over the past year. We are especially proud of our recent student-centered initiatives. We established the college’s first studentrun campus rescue squad in partnership with local fire, rescue, and ambulance services. The Daemen College Rescue Squad, composed of specially trained student volunteers, will provide emergency medical services to the campus community. In addition, we opened a newly created home for Counseling, Health Insurance, and Prevention Services (we call it the “CHIP Center”) to consolidate our health and wellness services under one roof in the Wick Campus Center.

Perhaps the most visible changes this year have been improvements to our physical campus, which reflect the strong and thriving college we are today. We opened a new section of campus set in an attractive wooded area near our Getzville Road entrances. This new part of campus includes Alumni House, Honors House, a new footbridge, and a spacious parking lot. More on these additions is available in this issue of Daemen Today.

This fall we will launch the first-ever annual Founders Celebration to commemorate the college’s origins, mission, and history. This exciting new campus-wide tradition will engage the entire campus community— students, graduates, faculty, staff, and trustees— in what promises to be one of the most festive occasions of the year. Please mark your calendars to join us for our inaugural Founders Celebration on Sept. 7 and 8, 2017, a momentous year as we officially celebrate Daemen’s 70th anniversary since it was founded in 1947 by the Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity. Additional information on our Founders Celebration may be found in this issue of Daemen Today.

These and many other accomplishments were made possible by our dedicated faculty and staff, devoted alums, ambitious student body, and supportive community. I offer my heartfelt thanks to each of you whose belief in Daemen has helped to propel us to become a college of national distinction.

Again, congratulations to the Daemen Class of 2017. I encourage you to stay in touch and engaged with Daemen. You will always be a member of the Daemen Family, and you are welcome to visit us at any time.

Go Wildcats!

Gary A. Olson Signature

Gary A. Olson