Published September 1, 2019
To say the life of Stephanie Niciszewska Mucha is impressive is an understatement.
The insightful and frugal Mucha was dubbed “The Oracle of Buffalo” – the WNY counterpart to Warren Buffet, the Oracle of Omaha – due to several wise investments over the course of her life. One of the most notable was purchasing stock in Medtronic shortly after the first implantable heart pacemaker was licensed to the company in the 1960s.
Mucha, who passed away at 101 years old in December 2018, has left her mark on the University at Buffalo School of Nursing, as a friend, philanthropist and supporter of the nursing profession. Before her passing, Mucha arranged to leave a $1 million gift to the School of Nursing to support student scholarship.
Mucha also left similar gifts to UB’s Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, the School of Arts and Sciences, and the School of Engineering. She and her husband, Joseph Mucha, also provided scholarships to 30 students of Polish heritage.
Born in North Tonawanda, Mucha left high school at age 15 to help support her family by working in a local family’s home and physician’s office. She attended Trott Vocational School of Nursing in the late 1940s and was hired as a licensed practical nurse at the new Buffalo VA hospital in 1950. In 1975, she received a civilian Purple Heart for her work with veterans. Mucha retired in 1993.
A biography of Mucha’s life, “The Oracle of Buffalo: The Remarkable Life of Stephanie T. Mucha” by L.S. Stolzenburg and J.J. Przewozniak, was published in 2016. The book outlines the obstacles she encountered growing up and working in the 1920s and 1930s, her time as a nurse, her nearly four decade marriage to Joseph Mucha, and her incredible journey as an investor and philanthropist.
At the 2017 dedication of the Stephanie T. Niciszewska Mucha and Joseph J. Mucha Dean’s Suite at the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Mucha said, “I believe in the power of higher education to transform our world.” Mucha, whose profoundly giving spirit graced Western New York for decades, will continue to transform our world through education for decades to come.