William Mariani, Ed.D., D'Youville College's executive vice president, Administrative Affairs, died following a brief illness Sunday, June 25, at Gates Vascular Institute in Buffalo. He was 67.
"I am deeply saddened by Bill's unexpected passing," said Dr. Lorrie Clemo, D'Youville College president. It is a significant loss for the D'Youville Community and for higher education across the region and state. Bill was an insightful and visionary leader who was highly approachable. During his interim presidency here at D'Youville and throughout my transition, he focused on strengthening and growing the college. He sought out talented people equally eager to tackle the challenges of a dynamic higher education environment.
"I will miss him enormously not only for his advice and gentle manner, but also his friendship and support. He was a great colleague. On behalf of the D'Youville College Community, we extend our deepest sympathies to his wife Marcia and the Mariani family."
Mariani served as president of Erie Community College from 1997 to 2006. He joined D'Youville in 2007 as an associate professor of business; in 2009, he was promoted to vice president.
On July 1, 2016, Mariani became D'Youville's interim president, succeeding Sister Denise Roche, GNSH.
At the time of his appointment, Mariani said, "I have so much regard for Sister Denise's legacy and what she has achieved over her tenure. It is an honor to have been offered the opportunity to help ensure her legacy continues, which embodies the mission and history of this extraordinary learning institution."
Sister Denise remembered Mariani fondly. "Bill was a person with many talents and lengthy experience in higher education and the issues facing it. However, we all knew Bill as a mentor a guide, an encourager and a support in times of trouble or confusion. Anyone who knew Bill realized that his family was always first for him, that he was a faithful and loyal friend and that he enjoyed life with an exuberance and zest that drew each of us into his enthusiasm. He shared his values and his wonderful humor readily with others and was a man who lifted spirits and made people smile and be better wherever he went. His spirit and positive attitude will be missed by many."
In January, he transitioned from interim president to executive vice president, Administrative Affairs. He was charged with spearheading the college's expansion into online learning and other new venture opportunities locally and nationally, a role that suited him well, given his vast network of professional and personal connections throughout the region.
"I am very saddened by the sudden passing of Bill Mariani," said C.J. Urlaub, chair of D'Youville's Board of Trustees. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the D'Youville Community. Bill stepped in to a difficult role with the retirement of Sister Denise. He was instrumental in advancing many improvements in the short time he was in the interim role. His contributions were essential in supporting and leading the college and he was a stabilizing force for the college. I feel a personal deep sense of loss with his passing, and this is an enormous loss for his family, D'Youville and our community."
Among his professional affiliations and community service activities: New York State Association of Community College Presidents; Erie County Workforce Investment Board; Western New York Higher Education Consortium; New York State Department of Economic Development Strategic Training; St. Francis High School Board of Trustees; United Way Regional Campaign co-chair (2002); Holiday Valley Ski Patrol; BOCES I Planning Board; Lackawanna Bicentennial Committee, and past president of the Rotary Club of Hamburg.
During a career in academia, Mariani served as a professor in our Department of Business and in ECC's School of Management. He was the founding dean of the Division of Development & Community Services at ECC presented at numerous conferences, and consulted on a variety of projects.
His private sector experience including time at AM International Consultants, Inc., and Bell & Howell, as well as his own consulting business.
Mariani earned his Ed.D. at D'Youville, a Bachelors' of Business Administration and Master of Science, Educational Administration and Supervision, from St. Bonaventure University. He was a graduate of St. Francis High School of Athol Springs.
He was an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed his family and friends.
Mariani is survived by his wife, Marcia Granica Mariani, his two children, Dr. Mara Mariani and William Mariani II, Esq., his mother, Elisabeth Mariani, and his sister, Deborah Palumbo (Anthony), and two nieces, Alana Dunn, and Brielle Palumbo. His father, the late Bruno J. Mariani, passed away in 2015.
A memorial Mass was celebrated on campus Monday morning.