Drive to 75 Campaign Far Exceeds Goal

As Daemen University celebrated its 75th anniversary, it also concluded its first-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign, exceeding its $22 million goal by over $4.5 million. President Gary Olson announced the final Drive to 75 campaign total at the institution’s annual Scholarship Gala held at the Jazzboline Ballroom on September 30.

“We are delighted by the over- whelming success of the campaign, and we are looking forward to continuing the tremendous momentum that the university has experienced over the last decade,” said Olson.

The campaign was co-chaired by former congressman Thomas M. Reynolds ’00 and Daemen alum
and philanthropist Nancy Haberman Gacioch ’62. It sought to fund a range of priorities, from student scholarships, to facility renovations, to academic program development.

Drive to 75 also brought in the largest individual gifts in the university’s history, including two separate $1 million gifts from board vice chair Paul Saffrin, a $1 million bequest from Olson and his wife Dr. Lynn Worsham, a half million dollar gift from trustee Mark Chason and his wife Mariana Botero Chason, and $440,000 from John Yurtchuk, chair of the Daemen University Board of Trustees.

In addition to the campaign news, the gala served as a resounding success in helping raise funds for student scholarships.

“Thanks to generous Daemen alumni, corporate sponsors, and friends of the university, the dream of achieving a college education becomes a reality for deserving students,” said Tony Fulgenzio, interim vice president for advancement.

Additional highlights of the evening included the presentation of the 2022 Community Excellence Award to Paul B. Iskalo, founder and president of Williamsville-based Iskalo Development Corp. and co-founder and principal investor of Big Ditch Brewing Company; as well as an address from current cytotechnology student and trustee scholar Kayla Lark.

Daemen Ranked Among Best National Universities by U.S. News & World Report

For the fourth consecutive year, Daemen has been ranked among the top institutions of higher learning in the country, earning a spot on U.S. News & World Report’s 2022-23 Best National Universities list. Daemen was also recognized for its undergraduate nursing program and the social mobility of its students.

“Daemen is increasingly becoming known as a university that competes on the national stage with our academic programs, faculty research, and student success,” said President Gary Olson. “Our inclusion among the country’s top institutions of higher learning is another testament to the excellence Daemen strives for every day.”

CHIP Center Hosts Inaugural Walk for Jenny

On October 20, Daemen’s Amherst campus community came together to raise awareness for suicide prevention in honor of Jennifer “Jenny” McAlmont, a student who tragically passed away in 2014. “Walk for Jenny,” the first of what is expected to be an annual event, was both a memorial for the late student, as well as an opportunity to destigmatize the need for mental health services on campus and beyond.

The event – proposed by McAlmont’s mother Lois Foster – was coordinated by Daemen’s CHIP Center with the support of the American Federation for Suicide Prevention and raised over $3,600 for suicide prevention, nearly double organizers’ anticipated goal.

Alum Trina Burruss ’06 Named President and CEO of United Way of Buffalo & Erie County

Trina Burruss ’06 standing next to United Way sign

Daemen alum Trina Burruss ’06, a graduate of the Executive Leadership & Change program (now Leadership & Innovation), has been named president and chief executive officer of United Way of Buffalo & Erie County.

Formerly serving as chief operating officer, Burruss started her new position at the end of 2022, the organization’s Board of Directors announced last fall. Burruss will succeed Michael Weiner, who will retire.

“I am confident that United Way of Buffalo & Erie County will be well positioned for the future with Trina at the helm,” said Weiner, in a United Way press release.


Margaret Phillips has received a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Award to teach and conduct research at the National Law University Delhi and the Human Rights Law Network in India.

Daemen will offset 90 percent of its electricity use – the equivalent of 400 homes per year – in a partnership with Fortune 500 energy company AES.

Daemen staffer Shantina Addison ’21 has been chosen as one of Buffalo Business First’s 30 Under 30 honorees for 2022, out of nearly 150 nominees.

Athletics News

Women’s Lacrosse Team Shows Talent in First Scrimmage

The Daemen University women’s lacrosse team played its first-ever scrimmage against Gannon University in September at Williamsville South High School. This scrimmage was the first of many planned in preparation for the team’s inaugural season, which begins during the Spring 2023 semester. The first home game is scheduled for February 28.

“This was our opportunity to go out there and show everyone our potential,” said the team’s head coach Dominique Hamman. “It proved we can already compete with a well-established team.”

Women’s lacrosse was announced as a Daemen varsity program back in June, 2021. Looking forward to the future, Hamman said the team is going to continue to develop and mature. “I think the pressure will hit when we work our way up to the championship level,” she added, “We made this great team and now we have to build off that and be consistent once we reach the top.”

Women’s Volleyball Wins Second Straight ECC Championship

The Daemen University women’s volleyball team handled Molloy 3-0 to win their second straight East Coast Conference (ECC) championship and third since 2018. The Wildcats, who put together their 13th 20-win season in program history, move to a 20-5 record on the season and represented the ECC as the league’s automatic qualifier for the upcoming NCAA Division II Championship.

The Wildcats are the first team to repeat as ECC tournament champions since Bridgeport’s four consecutive ECC Championship victories from 2012-2015.

Bartlo Collects All-East Coast Conference Honors

Derek Bartlo, a senior defender on the Daemen University men’s soccer team, has been named to the 2022 All-East Coast Conference team. He becomes just the fourth men’s soccer player from Daemen to be named All-ECC since the Wildcats joined the league in 2013. Bartlo also joins Kyle Clifford (2013) as the only players in program history to be named second team All-ECC.

Bartlo enjoyed a record-breaking senior season while leading the Wildcats to their most successful season in years. Bartlo has played in all 55 games over the past four years (51 starts) and has totaled 14 career goals and 34 career points.