St. Bonaventure University

Alumni News

Celebration of Excellence highlights the power of scholarships

Apr 13, 2023

Receiving a scholarship changed the way St. Bonaventure University senior Deandre Allen views the world and the power he holds to forge his own path within it.  

A recipient of the Oxford Annual Scholarship, Allen spent six weeks last summer studying at Trinity College of the University of Oxford. He shared highlights of his study abroad experience during the university’s Celebration of Excellence on Wednesday, April 12. The annual event honors scholarship and grant recipients and pays tribute to their benefactors. Pictured (from left): Dean David Hilmey, Les Quick III, Deandre Allen and President Jeff Gingerich

“Studying abroad opened my eyes to so many different things, such as international relations, currency exchange rates and history,” Allen said. “I heard pieces from a British pianist, attended a wine seminar and heard from a scientist who helped create the second-most-used COVID vaccine in the world. I also got the chance to experience other countries.”

The international exposure expanded Allen’s worldview, helping him realize the diversity of cultures and that he doesn’t have to be “rich or older to travel the world.”

Allen thanked his benefactor, Donna Bionda, who established a scholarship in memory of her daughter, Jeannie Bionda, a member of the Class of 1994. Jeannie’s life was transformed during her junior year when she studied at Oxford. She went on to earn a law degree, becoming a partner at Kaye Scholer in New York City by the age of 32. She succumbed to cancer in 2021.

“The purpose of Jeannie’s life continues through giving to another human being,” Donna Bionda said. “She would be pleased to know that the treasure she worked so hard to establish has touched another’s life.”

Allen, a native of Queens, New York, will graduate this May with a B.A. in strategic communication. In January, he was named one of the nation’s 50 Most Promising Multicultural Students by the American Advertising Federation. He is a recipient of the 2023 Hellinger Award and the Mosser Award for Outstanding Achievement in Strategic Communication. 

The event also featured 18 academic showcases, highlighting the creative endeavors and academic research of select students as well as faculty recipients of Martine and Keenan grant awards.

Through a generous gift from Leslie C. Quick III, ’75, and his family, the James Martine Faculty Development Endowment and the Leo Keenan Faculty Endowment were established in 1999 to maintain the teaching quality that has always been a hallmark at St. Bonaventure. 

Quick, an emeritus trustee and founding partner of Simon Quick Advisors, also served as a guest speaker.  

“Mission accomplished,” he said, indicating the high caliber of the many academic showcases. “We are celebrating excellence here today.”

He noted the magnetism of the Franciscan tradition that draws so many to study at St. Bonaventure, thanking the donors and faculty members for their work in carrying forward that intellectual tradition. He also urged the students to remember that excellence comes in many forms and must be worked at throughout a lifetime.Scholarship and grant recipients with their benefactors_2023 

During the 2022-2023 academic year, more than $1.8 million in scholarships was awarded to 512 deserving students, and a total of 19 Keenan-Martine grants were dispersed, totaling nearly $100,000. There were 20 new scholarships established, bringing the total number of endowed and annual scholarships at the university to 345.

Those interested in creating an endowed scholarship or establishing an annual award should contact Angela Nelson, director of donor engagement, at (716) 375-2308 or