Three standout individuals who’ve made Rochester a better place to live will be honored April 26 at St. Bonaventure University’s Gaudete Medal and Awards Ceremony at the Riverside Convention Center.
Being awarded the university’s highest honor are Dr. Anthony Bannon, SBU class of 1964, director of George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film; Thomas Ferraro, executive director of Foodlink; and James E. Hammer, president and CEO of Hammer Packaging.
St. Bonaventure’s Gaudete (gow-DAY-tay) Medal honors business and community leaders who exemplify the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi through their joy, hope, positive outlook on life, sincerely compassionate spirit and desire to serve humankind. Recipients of the Gaudete, which means “Rejoice!” in Latin, have inspired, encouraged and enlightened others through their personal and professional lives.
For more information on Gaudete event sponsorships and individual tickets, contact Anne Goergen at email@example.com or 716-375-4085. Cocktails begin at 6 p.m. with dinner at 7 p.m., followed by the medal presentations. The public is invited.
Dr. Anthony Bannon is the seventh director of George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, N.Y., and has served in that role longer than any previous director. George Eastman House was founded in 1947 and is the world’s oldest and largest independent museum of photography and motion pictures.
During his tenure, George Eastman House launched two world-renowned graduate photographic and film preservation schools and a post- graduate school with Rochester Institute of Technology. He directed alliances with museums and collectors in major U.S. cities, in addition to acquiring important collections from photographers and filmmakers. He is working to organize a satellite school in South Korea.
Bannon worked at the Buffalo News from 1969 to 1985 as a critic of art, theater, dance and later film, video and architecture.
Prior to his Eastman House appointment in 1996, Bannon was the director of Cultural Affairs at the State University of New York College at Buffalo and director of its Burchfield Penney Art Center. Bannon will step back into that role at Burchfield Penney in May, while holding the titles of senior scholar and director emeritus at Eastman House.
His book “Photo Pictorialists of Buffalo”won the American Photographic Historical Society’s merit award, and his writing on deafness won the Gallaudet University Award. Bannon’s recent publications include essays in the catalog on the photographers Steve McCurry, Diane Bush, Hiroshi Watanabe and Roger Eberhard.
Bannon has been recognized by the Arts and Cultural Council of Greater Rochester with the Outstanding Achievement Award, and as CEO of the Year by the Public Relations Society of America, Rochester Chapter. He was named Outstanding Arts Administrator of the Year by Buffalo’s Chamber of Commerce and Arts Council.
In 2007, Bannon earned the Golden Career Award from the FOTOfusion Festival of Photography & Digital Imaging. He was recognized for his “far-reaching leadership and scholarship in the cultural community” and for having “given unstintingly of his time and effort” to his museum and as a board member for several organizations.
“Most important, he is one of the most efficient and effective museum directors today,” noted Arnold H. Drapkin, director of FOTOfusion and former Picture Editor for Time magazine, who presented the award.
Bannon is a board member for the Rochester School for the Deaf, the H.H. Richardson Restoration National Board, and the Rochester International Fringe Festival. Nationally, he served on the Smithsonian Secretary’s Council (Washington, D.C.), Santa Fe Center for the Visual Arts (New Mexico), New York Council on the Humanities (Board of Directors and Executive Committee), the Alliance of New York State Art Organizations (Executive Committee), Palm Springs Photo Festival, and the New York State Association of Museums.
Bannon earned a Bachelor of Science degree from St. Bonaventure University, and his master’s in media studies and his Ph.D. in cultural studies are from the English Department at the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Thomas Ferraro founded Foodlink 34 years ago when, as an employee of Action for a Better Community, he appeared on a local television station to make a communitywide appeal for food donations to support the emergency food pantries in Rochester.
Ferraro was among the first “food bankers” in the nation. He served on the original Feeding America (known then as Second Harvest) board of directors, working with his peers to develop the concept of food banking nationally. He also assisted in the formation of the other seven New York state food banks, as well as in the creation of the state Department of Health’s Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program (HPNAP), which provides millions of dollars to hunger relief, food safety and nutrition education programs each year.
Under his direction, Foodlink has grown into a 450-member organization, delivering more than 12 million pounds of food annually to area soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters, group homes senior centers and other non-profit organizations in a 10-county area throughout Central and Western New York. Foodlink’s full-scale operation includes a 100,000-square-foot warehouse, an industrial kitchen, a fleet of refrigerated trucks, a computerized inventory system and a staff of more than 70 dedicated employees.
Over the past three decades, Ferraro has moved Foodlink’s focus beyond the symptom of hunger and toward its root causes by working to build community health and wealth while providing holistic services to those in need. Foodlink goes beyond food banking by focusing on workforce and economic development initiatives, conducting emergency and nonemergency provider trainings to build capacity and ensure safety, emphasizing child nutrition efforts, and offering nutrition, and culinary education throughout our region.
Ferraro has also been an entrepreneur in the nonprofit sector, creating two social enterprises and leading the way in innovative initiatives such as urban agriculture, local value-added processing and converting food waste into fuel and nutrient-rich soil.
He is the recipient of numerous community awards including the Mayor’s Charles S. Crimi Pax Humana Award from the City of Rochester in 2000, Rochester Urban League Community Leadership Award for Golden Service and the Greater Rochester Community of Churches Metropolitan Faith-In-Action Award. Foodlink was the recipient of the 2009 Ames-Amzalak Award for NonProfit Excellence (RACF), Heritage Christian’s Community Partner Award and edible Finger Lakes’ “Local Heroes” Award.
Ferraro and his wife, Regine Calvar, live in Pittsford with their twin 12-year-old sons, Philippe and John. Tom also has an older son, Michael, and two granddaughters.
James E. Hammer serves as president and CEO of Hammer Packaging, a fourth-generation family business founded in 1912. He began his career at then-Hammer Lithograph in 1969 in the sales and customer service department. He was promoted to vice president in 1975, and president and CEO in 1983.
Hammer has grown the company from a $4 million, 60-employee regional firm into a $100 million, 400-employee global organization. He built a culture based on a commitment to six shared values — integrity, respect, trust, passion, credibility and continuous improvement — and a business philosophy of “lead, don’t follow.”
Success has evolved from Hammer’s continued investment in leading-edge technology, hiring the right people and listening to the voice of the customer. The company has won many awards, most notably multiple Best Workplace in America and Rochester’s Business Ethics Awards. Hammer has been named to the Inc. 5000 and Rochester Top 100 list of fastest growing privately held companies.
With the exception of Wegmans, Hammer Packaging has been on the Rochester Top 100 listing more times than any other Rochester company. This year will mark the company’s 100-year anniversary.
In 2008, Hammer was the receipt of the Lewis Memorial Lifetime Achievement Award, Power of Communications Award and the Herbert Vanden Brul Entrepreneurial Award from Rochester Institute of Technology. He was also inducted into the Rochester Business Hall of Fame that same year. In 2007, he was inducted into the New York Business Hall of Fame, and, in 2005, he was awarded the Business Person of the Year by the Rochester Small Business Council.
Hammer is a member of the World Presidents Organization and has served as president of the National Label Printing Industries of America. He serves on the board of the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at Strong Memorial Hospital, Golisano Children’s Hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester Business Alliance, and Doyle Security. He also serves as a member of the regional board of directors of JP Morgan Chase.
For more than 20 years, he was on the Board of Directors and served as chairperson of the Governance Committee for Mary Cariola Children’s Center.
Hammer actively supports a variety of local, state and national charitable organizations, including United Way of Greater Rochester, Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, Wilmot Cancer Center, Mary Cariola Children’s Center, Golisano Children’s Hospital, Junior Achievement, Catholic Family Center, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Ronald McDonald House, Camp Good Days and Special Times, and Disabled Children of Monroe County.
Hammer received his bachelor’s degree in marketing from Drake College in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. He and his wife, Donna, have three children: Lisa, Jason and Ashley.
About the University: Inspired for more than 150 years by the Catholic Franciscan values of individual dignity, community inclusiveness, and service, St. Bonaventure University cultivates graduates who are confident and creative communicators, collaborative leaders and team members, and innovative problem solvers who are respectful of themselves, others, and the diverse world around them.