Daemen Receives $1.5M Grant from Alfiero Foundation to Support Veterans

Daemen University has long supported U.S. military veterans, embracing those who served our country and providing dedicated resources to help ensure their success as students and after graduation.

In March, Daemen signed a memorandum of understanding with Foundation 214, a charitable foundation that supports U.S. military veterans, established by the family of the late Salvatore Alfiero – a prominent business owner and philanthropist in Buffalo. The agreement awards the university a $1.5 million grant to offer comprehensive services that meet the academic, financial, and social-emotional needs of military- aligned and veteran students.

According to Elizabeth Wright, interim dean of the university’s College of Health Professions and College of Health, Human Sciences, and Business, the grant funds will be used to implement a new, state approved online degree program offering a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

“The generous grant enables us to strengthen our school of business, remove barriers to degree completion, and offer more opportunities for student veterans,” she explains. “Funds will also support academic advising, career coaching, mental health counseling, and professional development.”

Daemen has created the Alfiero School of Business, within the College of Health, Human Sciences, and Business, following the grant. A new Foundation 214 Veterans Success Center located in the Business Building is also underway to complement the services and support offered through the Nancy Haberman Gacioch Veterans Center already on campus.

Class of 2023 Celebrates Commencement

Graduates celebrating with champagne outside of Kleinhans Music Hall

Daemen University celebrated its 72nd commencement on Saturday, May 20, 2023, at Kleinhans Music Hall. During his opening remarks, President Gary Olson told graduates, “You are members of a very special university, and I feel confident that no matter what challenges you experience in your life, you

will continue to meet those challenges with wisdom and integrity.”

Angeleah Isabella Lograsso, a Physician Assistant Studies major, was awarded the Charles L. Lumsden Award, an honor bestowed upon the senior with the highest cumulative GPA in the graduating class.

The music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, JoAnn Falletta, served as the commencement speaker for the undergraduate ceremony. Nathan Breske, head athletic trainer of the Buffalo Bills, delivered the commencement address at the graduate ceremony. The speakers were presented with honorary degrees during their ceremonies.

President Biden Nominates Daemen Trustee

Robert Gioia

President Biden has nominated Board of Trustees member Robert Gioia for the position of Commissioner of the International Joint Commission, where he would serve as a key leader in the Biden administration.

The panel is composed of six commissioners, three from Canada and three from the U.S., and is responsible for investigating transboundary issues and for approving projects that affect water flows across the border. Gioia would be filling a vacant U.S. Commissioner spot. The nomination will now go before the Senate for final approval.

“This nomination is a tribute to Robert and his decades of work helping to make our region a better place for us all,” said President Gary A. Olson.

Trustee Scholar Wins Prestigious Gilman Award

Kayla Lark, a junior Trustee Scholar majoring in Cytotechnology, was recently awarded a prestigious Gilman Scholarship to study abroad this summer. Lark will be participating in the Coral Reef Survey course taught by Dr. Jon Good, Associate Professor of Natural Sciences.

Since 2001, the Institute of International Education (IIE) has awarded the Gilman Scholarship, enabling Pell eligible students the opportunity to “gain proficiency in diverse languages and cultures, skills that are critically important to their academic and career development.”


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: Season One Recap

Led by head coach Dominique Hamman, the Daemen women’s lacrosse team completed its inaugural season this spring. The Wildcats picked up an impressive seven wins in their 16 contests, including
a 14-10 defeat of Lake Erie College on February 26 – the program’s first-ever game. Other notable results included wins over regional foes Gannon University (14-13 on March 12) and Edinboro (18-7 on March 23) as well as the program’s first-ever East Coast Conference victory, a 23-7 rout of the University of the District of Columbia on March 31.

The Wildcats were led by attacker Casey Decatur, midfielder Dana Bacher, and defender Hayley Latvala, all of whom earned All-Conference honors. Bacher notched a team-high 43 goals while Decatur finished second among the ECC leaders in points (74).

Night of Honors Celebrates Two Star Student Athletes

Long distance runner Kassandra Nolet and volleyball player Zach Schneider took home the most prestigious honors at the 2023 Daemen Athletics Night of Honors held May 5 at Lumsden Gymnasium.

Nolet was named Female Athlete of the Year after starring for the cross country and track and field teams. After becoming the first Daemen runner to be named the ECC Runner of the Year, she led the women’s cross country team to its first-ever appearance at the NCAA Division II National Championships.

Meanwhile, Schneider was named Male Athlete of the Year after leading the Wildcats to a program-record 17 wins. It marked the men’s volleyball program’s first season as an associate member of the Northeast Conference (NEC) and Schneider performed as one of the top outside hitters in the country, earning honorable mention All-American recognition from the American Volleyball Coaches Association and being named the NEC’s first ever Player of the Year.

Daemen Named 2022-23 NCAA Division II Team Impact Fellowship Campus

Daemen has been named the NCAA Division II Team IMPACT Fellowship Campus of the Year. The recognition is due in large part to the efforts of student-athletes Marina Maerkl and Maggie Burns, who served as Team IMPACT fellows during the 2022-23 academic year. In that role, both Maerkl and Burns worked to plan special events for Daemen’s Team IMPACT children, such as awareness games and signing ceremonies.

Daemen has long been a partner with Team IMPACT, a national non-profit organization that matches children facing serious illness and disability with college athletic teams. Based on a clinical model, Team IMPACT guides a symbiotic relationship between teams and children, focused on socialization, empowerment, and resilience.