Distinguished Service Award Winners Honored At Dinner

FREDONIA – The Distinguished Service Award, the most prestigious honor given by the Fredonia College Foundation, was presented to three honorees at a special dinner/dance recently at the Williams Center at the State University at Fredonia.

Alumni Dr. J. Brien Murphy, 1953 and 1956, and Michael Schiavone, 1978, along with the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation were each honored with the bi-annual award which recognizes citizens and organizations that make significant contributions to society through business, government, education and the arts. The event’s proceeds were once again directed to SUNY Fredonia’s Keeper of the Dream Scholarship and Leadership Program.

The Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation was selected because of its work as a leader in funding charitable causes and efforts of Northern Chautauqua County. For more than 27 years, the organization has improved the community through the promotion of local philanthropy, strategic grant making and community leadership. It has directed more than $8.8 million in support funding across the region since 1986 and maintains more than 360 endowment funds. Peter Clark, president, and Diane Hannum, executive director, accepted the award on behalf of the Northern Chautauqua Community Foundation.

Murphy’s career included 38 years among the faculty of SUNY Fredonia and the Campus School, serving as chair of the elementary and early childhood education department, and coordinator of graduate studies. In addition, he served on the board of the Fredonia College Foundation for over 30 years, including as its secretary from 1986 to 2005. He also served as president of the Fredonia Alumni Association, chair of the Fredonia Faculty Council, and vice president of the Fredonia Emeritus Faculty and Staff Association.

He has also served the community in many ways outside of the college, including as secretary of the Hillman Memorial Music Association, president of the Dunkirk Free Library, treasurer of Troop 257 of the Chautauqua County Council of the Boy Scouts of America, and a director of the Chautauqua County Agricultural Association and the United Way of Northern Chautauqua County.

Schiavone, a senior partner of Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria LLP since 1987, has enjoyed a distinguished 30-year career in the legal profession. He has served as chairman of his firm’s Business Department, as well as a member of its Management Committee since 1988. He has been named to the Best Lawyers in America in Corporate Law; Super Lawyers in Business and Corporate/Sports Law; Business First/Buffalo Law Journal’s Who’s Who in Law, and has received the AV Preeminent Rating, Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating for Legal Ability and Ethical Standards.

His service to SUNY Fredonia has included serving on the board of the Fredonia College Foundation as a member since 2004, including as its chair from 2010 and 2011. Additionally, he serves on the School of Business Advisory Council. He was a key contributor in helping to bring the foundation’s recent $15 million “Doors to Success” capital campaign to a successful close, and he and his wife, Cheryl, have established the Schiavone Family Endowment to generate scholarships through the Fredonia College Foundation.

All three recipients were congratulated and presented with their awards by SUNY Fredonia President Virginia S. Horvath, on behalf of current Fredonia College Foundation Board Chair Debra Horn Stachura, Class of 1975, David M. Tiffany, vice president for university advancement and executive director; and the rest of the foundation’s board.

The mission of the Fredonia College Foundation is to promote, advance and support the activities and programs of SUNY Fredonia. In doing so, the foundation administers resources and supervises the investment of philanthropic funds and other revenues for the university.

Incorporated in 1964, the foundation was established to accept financial contributions, hold and invest endowment accounts, and award grants to strengthen the educational programs of SUNY Fredonia. It is a not-for-profit corporation separate from the university that exists solely for the benefit of the school. A volunteer board of directors oversees its activities, and all contributions to the foundation are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Gifts to the foundation from alumni, employees, parents, foundations, corporations, businesses, and friends support SUNY Fredonia’s most critical programs: scholarships, research, international study, internships, externships, academic departments, athletics and more. These are the programs that define the educational experience at SUNY Fredonia that transform students’ lives.