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Five St. Bonaventure employees honored at annual awards event

Apr 29, 2024

Five devoted staff members were honored April 25 with Presidential Awards for Staff Excellence at St. Bonaventure University.

The awards were handed out at the fifth annual Staff & Faculty Excellence Awards.

Also recognized at the Quick Center event were faculty members Dr. James Pientka, Dr. José Manuel Medrano and Jeffrey Warner for the Faculty Excellence Awards they received; milestone anniversary employees in increments of five years from 10 to 45 years; and retirees.

For photos of all the award winners, click here. 

The staff awards were first handed out in 2020 to honor the work of people across the university workforce who had long been overlooked for their efforts.

The award for Outstanding Staff Achievement, presented to a staff member who has provided exemplary support or service to the Bonaventure community and/or to their individual area or team, was won by Casey Bucher, administrative assistant for Residence Life and Judicial Affairs.

“Most days, it seems there is no question he can’t answer. If he finds himself in a predicament when he doesn’t know the answer, he will work endlessly until he figures it out,” one nominator said. “His compassion for others, dedication to all employees and students, and his positive energy are unmatched.”

Another said, “He is always there when another staff member needs a quick pick-me-up” and “his compassion for others, dedication to all employees and students, and his positive energy are unmatched.”

Two Customer Support Awards were presented to staff members who provide timely and professional service to both internal and external constituents and are responsive to their needs and requests. They were won by Danielle Folland, disbursement and expenses coordinator, and database analyst Katarina Jones.

Of Folland, one person said, “She is always patient, knowledgeable, supportive and kind when answering any business office-related questions.”

“Working with dollar signs all day can be a challenge, and even overwhelming at times, but Danielle is always extremely responsive and timely in her communications when an issue arises and never fails to be helpful.”

Jones, one colleague said, “always dives right in and figures out a solution. She always has a great attitude and is an absolute pleasure to work with. Her exceptional skills, pleasant demeanor, and swift responses have made a significant impact.”

Another colleague said of her, “Since joining our team, Kat has consistently demonstrated exceptional dedication, teamwork, and a positive attitude, making significant contributions to our projects and overall workplace environment. Her ability to collaborate effectively with team members and willingness to go above and beyond expectations have been instrumental in the successful completion of several key projects this year.”

The Innovation and Change Award, presented to a staff member who helps develop new and improved processes, methods, systems, products, or services and encourages others to do the same and who makes innovation a priority, was won by Mandi Davis, director of Advancement Operations.

A colleague said of Davis, “She consistently goes above and beyond every day, pitching in whenever needed!”

Davis has “cut through red tape and reexamined things that have ‘always been done like that’ because she values efficiency and has worked to implement new processes and software to improve that efficiency. She constantly looks for opportunities for her staff to participate in professional development.”

The Rookie of the Year, presented to a staff member who has been with the university for less than three years and who has demonstrated responsibility, growth, leadership, commitment to the university and patience in challenging situations, was awarded to Amy Hayden, administrative assistant to the Occupational Therapy and Nursing programs.

Over the last two years, Hayden has been nominated eight times — three times last year and five times this year.

She was called “passionate about making sure our prospective students are connected to SBU even before they arrive. Her pleasant personality is warm and welcoming and her commitment is commendable. She is also innovative and brings fantastic solutions to issues that arise.”

Hayden was called by colleagues “the glue that holds us together, from department functions and events to admissions visits. Without her, we simply would not be able to do what we do.”

Despite very serious health challenges, “Amy is a dedicated employee who demonstrates a strong work ethic, kindness, and reliability.”

Milestone anniversaries and retirees were:


  • Kathy Boser (Jandoli School)
  • Karen France (Advancement)
  • Ann Kightlinger (Business Office)
  • Fr. Dominic Monti, O.F.M. (Franciscan Institute)
  • Tom Donahue (Marketing & Communications)
  • Leigh Simone(Modern Languages)
  • Ed. Simone (Theater)
  • Christine Hunt (Education)

10 years

  • Mike Tate (Golf Course Superintendent/Athletic Facilities)
  • Heather McDivitt (Philosophy)
  • Maureen Bernas (Library)
  • Johanna Schwingel (Biology)
  • Monica Thomas (Arts & Sciences)
  • Brandon Salerno (Baseball)
  • Danny Bush (Marketing & Communications)
  • Jared Smith (Maintenance & Physical Plant)
  • Melvin Smith (Housekeeping Services)
  • Joseph Hoag (Advancement)
  • Caitlin Webster (Events & Conferences)

15 years

  • Cindy Proctor (School of Health Professions)
  • Timothy Olkosky (Maintenance & Physical Plant)
  • Mark Inman (Institutional Research)
  • Nancy Taylor (Business Office)
  • Dave Hilmey (Academic Affairs)
  • John Stevens (School of Business)
  • Pete Cavana (Housekeeping Services)
  • Tami Attwell (Library)
  • Matt Pappano (Men’s basketball)
  • Loriann Yardman (Institutional Research)
  • Seth Johnson (Athletics)
  • Tom Donahue (Marketing & Communications)

20 years

  • Nina Peterson (HEOP)
  • Fr. David Blake, O.F.M. (Sociology & Criminology)
  • Fr. Michael Calabria, O.F.M. (Modern Languages)
  • Chris Hill (Mathematics)
  • Guy Imhoff (Modern Languages)
  • Mike Kasperski (Accounting)
  • Carole McNall (Jandoli School)
  • Jenny Wardhaugh (Housekeeping Services)
  • Wayne Oonk (Technology Services)
  • Rhonda Monahan (Athletics)
  • Brian Beckman (Maintenance & Physical Plant)

25 years

  • Leigh Simone (Modern Languages)
  • Laura Peterson (Music)
  • Paul Brawdy (Physical Education)
  • Phil Payne (History)
  • Kevin Vogel (Biology)
  • Dan Donner (Technology Services)
  • Steve Mest (Athletics)
  • Phil Winger (Maintenance & Physical Plant)

35 years

  • Lauren Matz (English)

40 years

  • Darwin King (Accounting)

45 years

  • Jamie Peace (Mailroom)


About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, St. Bonaventure University is a community committed to transforming the lives of our students inside and outside the classroom, inspiring in them a lifelong commitment to service and citizenship. Out of 167 regional universities in the North, St. Bonaventure was ranked #6 for value and #14 for innovation by U.S. News and World Report (2024).