Daemen College celebrated the accomplishments of five outstanding graduates at the 2015 Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner held in their honor on Nov. 6.
“We are proud to recognize the stellar accomplishments of this year’s recipients, who embody the positive impact our college has on the lives of our graduates,” said Daemen President Gary A. Olson. “It is an honor to pay tribute to these exceptional individuals.”
The 2015 award winners are: Louise Continelli- Berke, ’74, Advancement in Career; Sr. Edith Wyss, OSF, ‘66, Dedication to the College; Peter L. Brodie ’92, Service to the Community; and Stephanie N. Foreman ’06, Graduate of the Last Decade.
The event culminated with President Olson presenting the Distinguished Alumna Award, the highest honor, to Sr. Maria Pares, ’69, who has had an illustrious 40-year career as a women’s basketball coach.
In presenting the award, Olson said, “Sr. Maria is well-known in the Western New York community for her enduring commitment to women’s athletics and the education of young women. Her lifetime of successes and exceptional leadership and talent exemplifies the spirit of our great college and the highest ideals of this award.”
Past Distinguished Alumni Award winners from across the decades, as well as family, friends, and members of the college community were in attendance at the event to honor the 2015 award recipients.
Sr. Maria Pares, ’69
A member of the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame, she has coached women’s basketball for 40 years. She is currently an assistant coach at Villa Maria College, having previously served as head coach at Marquette University, Canisius College and the Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart.
Pares’ coaching career has garnered national attention in the New York Times, Sports Illustrated, Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles Times and USA Today, and she was also a guest on the “Late Show” with Joan Rivers.
A Buffalo, N.Y. resident, Pares is wellknown in the Western New York community for her commitment to women’s athletics as well as the education of young women.
Dedication to the College
Sr. Edith Wyss, OSF ’66
Sr. Edith Wyss, provincial minister of the Sisters of St. Francis of Penance and Christian Charity, has served on the Daemen Board of Trustees since 2011 and is chair of the board’s Student Affairs Committee.
The continued presence of the Sisters of St. Francis on Daemen’s campus is due in part to the positive relationship the college has with Wyss, who has played an important role in maintaining the connection between the founding order and the college.
A pillar in the community, her dedication to the spirit of Franciscan education was honored with the Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart’s Franciscan Charism Award in 2013.
A resident of Lewiston, Wyss previously served as director of the Stella Niagara Health Center and principal at Sacred Heart Academy.
Advancement in Career
Louise Continelli-Berke, ’74
Louise Continelli-Berke started as a columnist and reporter at The Buffalo Courier-Express soon after graduating from Daemen (then Rosary Hill) and in 1983 began her career at The Buffalo News. She has won more than 40 journalism awards, including top honors from the New York State Bar Association, New York Associated Press, Veterans Administration, Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi, and the Buffalo Newspaper Guild.
Continelli-Berke received her first Pulitzer Prize nomination in 1979 while working at The Buffalo Courier- Express, and went on to receive several other Pulitzer Prize nominations throughout her career.
A member of the Alumni Board of Governors in the late 1970s, she has given guest lectures and assisted with Career Day at Daemen. She was the first student in the history of the college to graduate with a straight A average, which earned her the Oddy Medal, the institution’s most prestigious scholastic award.
Continelli-Berke resides in Clarence, N.Y.
Service to the Community
Peter L. Brodie’s, ’92
Peter L. Brodie’s service to the various communities he has called home has been a constant in his life. He has more than 25 years of continuous volunteer service in the Amherst and Duanesburg, N.Y. communities. Brodie, who holds a bachelor’s degree in
Brodie, who holds a bachelor’s degree in administrative study from Daemen, has been a volunteer for over 15 years at the Duanesburg Volunteer Ambulance Corps and served the Hugh O’Brian Leadership Foundation for a decade. In recognition of his dedication to EMS service in the community, he received the Schenectady County and Hudson Mohawk Valley’s Regional 2015 Harriet C. Weber EMS Leadership Award.
Currently, Brodie works as the Montgomery County constituent coordinator in the New York State Senate. Previously employed in the hospital billing and contracting departments at Albany Medical Center, he also worked for nearly a decade in the alumni relations field, including at Daemen.
He resides in Delanson, N.Y.
Graduate of the Last Decade
Stephanie N. Foreman ’06
Stephanie N. Foreman, who earned a bachelor’s degree in political science with a minor in criminal justice from Daemen, is founding president of the Buffalo Urban League Young Professionals (BULYP), which she launched in 2013. She is also a financial professional at Prudential Financial. Foreman is a member of the Amherst Chamber of Commerce, Youth Entrepreneurial Program, Buffalo Urban League, and serves on the Prudential Financial Agency Field Advisory Council. A Buffalo, N.Y. resident, she has received various awards and recognition for her efforts with BULYP and Prudential.