Daemen College honored the accomplishments of ve outstanding graduates at the college’s 2020 Distinguished Alumni Awards held on Oct. 2 in a live streamed ceremony. The awards recognize the college’s most outstanding alumni, who are selected by the National Alumni Board of Governors.

President Gary Olson introduced and presented the Distinguished Alumnus Award, the highest honor given to a graduate, to Anibal Soler, Jr. ’00.

“We are pleased to celebrate these exceptional alums who made their mark on their professions, the community, and the college,” said Olson. “They serve as an inspiration to our students by exemplifying all that is possible with a Daemen education.”

Additional Distinguished Alumni Award recipients honored include Dr. Elizabeth D. Liddy ’66 for advancement in career; Adriane Z. Williams ’01, for dedication to the college; Mary L. Sage ’02 for service to the community; and Dr. Joseph P. Gravino ’13 as the distinguished graduate of the last decade.

The 2020 Distinguished Alumni Awards ceremony was hosted by National Alumni Board Chair Amy Miechowicz ’89. The event included messages from Olson and Alumni Relations Director Kathryn Hammer and provided the opportunity for each honoree to give a live speech.

“It was an amazing and humbling honor to be recognized as the distinguished alumni for 2020,” said Soler. “To know that two decades ago Daemen College helped lay the foundation for my career is a testament to the work of many individuals at the college. I will never forget this recognition and will continue to hold the college close to my heart. Thank you, Daemen, for all that you continue to do for many others and for the greater community.”

Distinguished Alumni Award

Anibal Soler, Jr. ‘00

Art Education

Soler is superintendent for the Batavia City School District. He previously served as associate superintendent of Strategic Alignment & Innovation for Buffalo Public Schools. He is a member of the Association of Latino Administrators & Superintendents.

He serves as communications officer and regional board member for the NYS Association of Latino Administrators & Superintendents. The City of Buffalo recognized Soler as a 2019 Champion of Education. He was recognized by President Obama as a 2014 Latino Educator Champion of Change.

Advancement in Career

Dr. Elizabeth D. Liddy ’66

English Literature

Liddy served as dean of Syracuse University’s (SU) School of Information Studies and held the role of interim provost. She was the first part-time PhD student in Information Studies at SU. Liddy founded TextWise, a semantic based search engine company where she earned six patents. She established the Center for Natural Language Processing at SU.

Dedication to the College

Adriane Z. Williams ’01


Williams started her career in the oce of admissions while pursuing her studies at the college. She was named director of Daemen’s Liberty Partnership Program. She served as an academic advisor and was later promoted to associate director of academic advisement. Williams has become a mentor to generations of Daemen students and alumni.

Service to the Community

Mary L. Sage ’02


Sage, a leader in the healthcare field for more than 50 years, served as a nurse at United Memorial Medical Center where she recently returned to aid in the pandemic. She was honored as Volunteer of the Year in recognition of more than 20 years of volunteer service with the American Cancer Society.

Graduate of the Last Decade

Dr. Joseph P. Gravino ’13

Natural Science, Physical Therapy

Gravino is co-owner of Elite Spine and Extremity Physical Therapy which he co-founded with Dr. Michael Brown. His passion to treat patients more holistically led to the physical therapy partnership. Gravino is also an adjunct faculty member at Daemen, instructing a course in kinesiology.