(L–R) Andrew C. Wheeler, Mary A. O’Connor Tosney, Mary Ruth Leberer Haberman, Dr. Edwin Clausen, Claudia J. Pirri Nowak and Alan H. Turner II
(L–R) Andrew C. Wheeler, Mary A. O’Connor Tosney, Mary Ruth Leberer Haberman,  Dr. Edwin Clausen, Claudia J. Pirri Nowak and Alan H. Turner II
(L–R) Andrew C. Wheeler, Mary A. O’Connor Tosney, Mary Ruth Leberer Haberman, Dr. Edwin Clausen, Claudia J. Pirri Nowak and Alan H. Turner II

Distinguished Alumna

Mary Ruth Leberer Haberman ’61

Mary Ruth Leberer Haberman’s life is a model of Franciscan values, formulated by her education at Stella Niagara, Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart, and Rosary Hill College. Pursuing a career as a neurosonologist with her Bachelor of Science degree, she trained at the Buffalo Veterans Medical Center, and at the prestigious Vascular Center in Seattle. Mary was the first and only professional in Buffalo trained in the groundbreaking technique, which monitors blood flow through the brain. The procedure (TCD) soon became instrumental in vascular surgeries and in assessing neurologic damage resulting from stroke and open heart surgery.

During Mary Ruth’s lifelong community work she has served many organizations, including Little Portion Friary, a shelter for the homeless on Main Street in Buffalo, where she and her husband, Art, have volunteered for over 25 years. In addition, Buffalo General Hospital has four hospice beds where Mary is a weekly visitor to those patients. Mary was also a charter member of the AIDS Inter-Faith Network, which serves AIDS patients unable to leave their homes. While serving the American Cancer Society, Mary Ruth developed the Chemo-Coach program, and was a coordinator for a significant breast cancer research study, receiving the American Cancer Society’s Outstanding Service Award. Mary Ruth has also received the Diocese of Buffalo Pro Vitae, and the Guild of Saint Apollonia Service Awards.

Graduate of the Last Decade

Dr. Andrew C. Wheeler ’04, ’05

Andrew Wheeler has been a dedicated member of the Daemen College community since he first stepped foot onto the campus. As a founding member of the Student Alumni Ambassadors (SAA), Andrew understands the importance of being an involved alumnus; Andrew’s ongoing, active support of Daemen since his graduation in 2004 reveals itself in many ways. He was instrumental in building attendance for the Young Alumni Camping Trip for 2005 and 2006. By attending each of the Buffalo Chapter Holiday Parties from 2005 to the present, Andrew meets the newest SAA members and welcomes them into the Daemen community. And, as the co-founder of SAA, his continued connection to this organization and its students is a key to its success. In reaching out to students and alumni, he has shown his commitment to all Daemen College alumni.

A partial list of the events and programs that Andrew has been involved with at Daemen includes: Board of Governors Annual Meetings; Young Alumni Camping Trip; Student Alumni Ambassador Reunion; Daemen Golf Classic; Buffalo Chapter Council Installation Dinners; and Alumni Relations events such as Wine & Chocolate Tasting, Homecoming Receptions, “Daemen Day” Bisons Games, Scholar’s Day interviewer and panelist, Career Services speaker, and Physical Therapy speaker.

Service to the Community

Mary A. O’Connor Tosney ’64

As a member of the Women of Jewelia (WOJ), Mary A. O’Connor Tosney has spearheaded and participated in countless charitable and volunteer activities benefitting families and individuals. She has initiated raising funds and awareness for the Catholic Charities food kitchen; the Coalition to End Family Violence; the local Salvation Army’s new kitchen; Habitat for Humanity; Easter Seals; Caregivers, and donations of Christmas gifts/food for needy families, among many, many other projects.

As a member of the WOJ, Mary is one of 13 women who took a risk on an expensive diamond necklace, changing not only her life but her community. The women decided to share a necklace they could never have purchased on their own — an act that became a symbol of loyalty and friendship. Mary and her fellow WOJ began using the necklace to raise money for organizations, auctioning off wearing it for an evening or having the WOJ at events, finding ways to fundraise wherever there was a need. The inspirational story of these 13 women was made into The Necklace, a best selling book. As a result, the small group of women has appeared in countless national print articles (People, Readers Digest) as well as television (The Today Show and Inside Edition). And, after 20 years of teaching in Catholic schools, Mary is extremely proud of her recent induction into the St. Bonaventure High School Hall of Fame, which came about in recognition of her long service to Catholic education in Ventura.

Dedication to the Community

Claudia J. Pirri Nowak ’74

When Claudia J. Pirri Nowak decided to commit her time to alumni endeavors, she was driven by a desire to make a positive impact. Claudia was a member of the Buffalo Chapter Council from 2007–2008; President Elect 2008– 2009; and President 2009–2010 (as Chapter President, she was a member of the Alumni Association Board of Governors). She held the office of Immediate Past President 2010–2011. A key theme that Claudia stressed during her Presidency and time on the Board was the inclusion of the whole Daemen community in their endeavors. This included reaching out to the Daemen faculty at a September faculty meeting a few years ago.

In 2004, Claudia became a class correspondent for her reunion year and began her interest in Buffalo related alumni events for her Alma Mater. She has been a member of the Buffalo Chapter Council from 2007–2011. A partial list of the events she has helped plan and make a success include the Golf Classic Auction Committee; MusicalFare theater events; Children’s Fall Festival; Scrabble event; Artpark events; and the Easter Bunny Brunch. Together with Daemen Philosophy Professor Dr. James Moran, Claudia has also been instrumental in planning and presenting the popular Daemen College Film Series for the past several years. Moreover, she is continuing her commitment to the College by assisting Daemen Director of Leadership Giving, Pat Smith, with events and fundraising for the new Daemen Visual & Performing Arts Center.

Advancement in Career

Alan H. Turner II ’93

Alan H. Turner II is new President and CEO for the United Way of Southwest Alabama, in Mobile, AL. Formerly, he was the President and CEO for the United Way of West Tennessee, which annually invested millions in an average of 130 local programs within a 14 county service area. Before Alan and his family lived in Tennessee and Alabama, he was the Executive Director of the Association of New York State Youth Bureaus. Earlier in his career, Alan served in New York State Assembly, where he coordinated the legislative and communication efforts for several Assembly members.

Alan’s commitment to community involvement includes FEMA/Emergency Food & Shelter Program Board; Disaster Recovery Services; Imagination Library; Rotary; Association of Fundraising Professionals; Education Commission, and Boy Scouts of America. He served as a youth soccer and baseball coach in the Jackson area and even served as a Special Deputy Sheriff in Tennessee. At Daemen, Alan earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration-Specialization in Marketing; he earned his Associate Degree in Business Administration from the State University of New York at Cobleskill. He has completed Executive Education programs on Nonprofit Management at Harvard Business School, Harvard Kennedy School and Kellogg School of Management. Alan is finishing his Master’s degree in Business Administration at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. He began his new duties at the helm of United Way of Southwest Alabama on August 15, 2011, relocating to the Mobile area with his wife, Stephanie, and their two young children, Andrew and Sara.