Three outstanding community members devoted to making a positive difference in Western New York will be honored May 2 at St. Bonaventure University's Gaudete Medal Awards Ceremony and Dinner at the Hyatt Regency in Buffalo.
The Gaudete Medal is one of the university's highest honors, and is conferred to exceptional leaders who demonstrate the spirit of joy and service that exemplify the life of St. Francis of Assisi. St. Bonaventure has awarded the Gaudete Medal since 1996.
This year's ceremony will honor Greg Bruno, '74; Senator Catharine M. Young, '82; and Fr. Richard (Duke) Zajac for their good work and selfless commitment to the community.
Bruno, recently retired after 40 years work in the office equipment industry, focuses on community service. His contributions include St. Francis High School in Buffalo where he chairs the School Board; the YMCA Buffalo, where he has been a board member for more than 20 years; and St. Patrick's Food Pantry and the Little Portion Friary Homeless Shelter.
In 2016, he became a professed member of the Third Order Secular Franciscans, St. Patrick's Fraternity. Greg and his wife, Donna, are also members of Families of F.A.N.A. WNY, an adoption agency for abandoned children of Colombia, through which they adopted their children, Marissa and Christian. Marissa is a 2012 graduate of St. Bonaventure University.
Senator Young, who represents the 57th district in the New York State Senate, is a tireless leader and advocate for the people of Western New York. In 2016, she made history by becoming the first woman to chair the powerful Senate Standing Committee on Finance.
Recognized as a friend of the taxpayer and a strong voice for middle-class families across the state, she has consistently advanced tax relief, job creation and economic growth. She has championed educational opportunities for New York's children and greater access to healthcare for the state's rural communities. She and her husband Dick are the parents to Maureen, Patrick and his wife Sydney, Richard and his wife Kait, and grandparents to Rowan.
Father Richard Zajac has served as the staff chaplain at Sisters of Charity Hospital in Buffalo since 1982. His board memberships include the Parochial Baseball League, where he has been involved since 1970; Amherst Meals on Wheels Inc.; and Catholic Medical Partners. Father Zajac has been the recipient of many distinguished service awards throughout his career, including the Am-Pol Eagle Citizen of the Year, Thomas T. Franz Service Award for humanitarian service in a professional and volunteer capacity in the field of grief and loss, and Holy Name Award for Outstanding Service to the Diocese of Buffalo.
In 2017, Father Zajac also received distinguished service awards from Catholic Seminary Alumni Association and from WNY Perinatal Bereavement Network, as well as the Love Award from Sisters of Charity Hospital. In 2010, he was inducted into the Western New York Baseball Hall of Fame.
For more information on event sponsorships and individual tickets, please contact Karen Heitzinger, director of Annual Giving, at (716) 375-2328 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Cocktails begin at 6 p.m. with dinner at 7 p.m., followed by the medal presentations. The public is invited. To register, please visit www.sbu.edu/gaudete by Friday, April 27.