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Employees campaign honors volunteers

With the Bennett Cup, the campaign's MVP award, are, from left, Jana Blaha, Kim Behun and Marsha Lewis, all of the School of Nursing, and campaign chair Austin Booth. Photo: Nancy J. Parisi


Published January 24, 2014

“I look forward to this campaign celebration every year because it highlights the generosity of our university community and celebrates your incredible dedication.”
President Satish K. Tripathi

The 2013 UB Employees Campaign for the Community is being extended through March, but on Thursday organizers gathered to recognize the time and effort put in by its many volunteers.

“I think it says a lot about UB that we know that if our community succeeds we succeed, and we really do give back to the community of Buffalo. Your hard work has paid off. I really cannot thank you enough,” Austin Booth, vice provost for university libraries and the chair of the 2013 campaign, told those attending the celebration, held in the Bansal Atrium in Davis Hall, North Campus.

As of Jan. 22, UB employees raised $805,000 toward the 2013 campaign, which will run through March 31. The goal is $850,000.

UB boasts one of the most successful campaigns in higher education, raising more than $15.7 million since 1994, Michael Weiner, president of the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County, said Thursday.

“It really says a lot about the university and its commitment to the community,” Weiner added, noting the current campaign has been one of the most challenging in recent years due to several circumstances, including state worker furloughs, the federal shutdown and the economy.

During his remarks, President Satish K. Tripathi thanked several individuals, including Weiner; Dennis Black, vice president for university life and services and the chair of the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County campaign; and former United Way president Bob Bennett.

“I look forward to this campaign celebration every year because it highlights the generosity of our university community and celebrates your incredible dedication,” Tripathi said. “Whatever the final tally, I’m proud of the accomplishments of this campaign and the significant impact your efforts have on our communities. Our employees truly are the driving force behind our success as a university. Your generosity and volunteerism are why UB is consistently ranked as one of SEFA’s top agencies in New York State, and one of the top universities participating nationwide.”

Jessica Wangelin in the Office of the President was recognized for her efforts in coordinating UB’s campaign.

Booth announced that Sean Sullivan, vice provost for academic planning and budget, will chair the 2014 UB campaign.

A number of awards are given out during the celebration event each year to recognize individuals and units whose efforts helped make the campaign especially successful:

  • Faces of the Campaign recognize the three UB employees who unselfishly shared their personal stories of how the campaign has helped them. Their stories were used in marketing materials promoting the campaign. Recipients are Jerry Linder, Human Resources; Gina Bellavia, School of Nursing; and Chris Salem, School of Management.
  • Topping the Charts notes the achievements of units that met or exceeded their annual goals. There are seven winning units this year, led by the School of Nursing, which exceeded its goal by at least 16 percent. The Office of the President, University Life and Services, School of Management, School of Social Work, Office of the Provost and University Libraries also were honored for exceeding their goals.
  • Bennett Cup. Established in 2000 in honor of former United Way President Bob Bennett, chancellor emeritus of the state Board of Regents, this award is considered the MVP award of the campaign. Bennett was on hand to give out this year’s award to the School of Nursing, which raised more than $13,000.
  • Chair’s Cup. Awarded each year at the discretion of the campaign chair, this award recognizes a unit whose performance shows a commitment to the campaign, as well as significant success. The Office of the Provost received the 2013 Chair’s Cup for exceeding its unit goal of $71,000.
  • Volunteer of the Year. Catherine Brown, human resources director for Campus Dining and Shops, received the award for helping to organize a new fundraising committee within Student Affairs.
  • Unsung Hero. Joan Thompson, secretary in State Accounting Services, received the award for the important work she does behind the scenes to help the campaign. This includes processing campaign forms as they come in to Financial Services.
  • William R. Greiner Award. Denise Wolfe of University Libraries was honored for her efforts toward ensuring the campaign’s success.
  • Outstanding Service Recognition. Rema Hanash, director of resource development with the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County, and University Print Services are this year’s honorees.

Also recognized for their efforts toward the campaign were University Communications, Tony Martin Awards, Three Pillars Catering, Office of Special Events and CFA Video Production Group.