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St. Bonaventure University

Close connections highlight Bona's 2022 Celebration of Excellence

May 06, 2022

From left are Les and Eileen Quick, Jordan Mejia, Dr. Joseph Zimmer and Bob Van Wicklin.

View a photo gallery from the event

Nearly 125 members of the St. Bonaventure University community gathered in the Doyle Hall Conference Center on Thursday, May 5, to honor scholarship and grant recipients and pay tribute to the donors whose generosity makes such a difference in their lives.

Guest speakers included scholarship recipient Jordan Mejia, a member of the Class of 2023, and St. Bonaventure trustee emeritus Leslie C. Quick III, '75.

Mejia, a broadcast journalism major from Manhattan, shared how the power of the Bona network and the inspiration of scholarships put him on the path to success. When his grandmother, who was his primary guardian, passed away in 2019, Mejia feared he would have to put aside his higher education goals.

“I thought my dream of attending college was over,” he said. “But thanks to scholarships, I am able to have this fantastic opportunity at St. Bonaventure and not only make an impact on campus as a resident assistant and a member of the Medical Emergency Response Team, but also in the surrounding community as a volunteer Emergency Medical Responder with Allegany Rescue and EMS.”

Mejia is the recipient of the Robert M. Spaulding, ’51, Memorial Scholarship and the Fr. Mychal Judge, O.F.M., Endowed Scholarship. 
“Coming to St. Bonaventure has totally changed my life,” Mejia said. “I’ve seen and met many Bona alumni around the world, from the island of Puerto Rico to a random small town in Florida. When they see my Bonaventure apparel, they always stop to talk. Choosing to be a Bonnie has helped me build a strong network.”

Guest speaker Quick noted how much he enjoys meeting the students and faculty at the luncheon each year and hearing their ideas.

“Scholarships and the Martine-Keenan grants are gifts that continue to give,” he said. “Though our world is tenuous right now, with people like Jordan and our other scholarship and grant recipients we have a bright future ahead.” 

Quick and his wife, Eileen, established the James Martine Faculty Development Endowment and the Leo Keenan Faculty Endowment in 1999 to express their appreciation to these professors, whom they felt dedicated their lives to St. Bonaventure and its students. Today the grants provide funding to faculty engaged in activities designed to improve the quality of the teaching and learning process at the university. 

Quick earned a B.B.A. in finance in 1975 from St. Bonaventure and served more than 25 years on the university’s Board of Trustees. He is founding partner of Simon Quick Advisors.
The annual luncheon offers scholarship recipients the opportunity to meet and thank the donors who helped fund their education. It also features an academic showcase that highlights the creative endeavors and academic research of select students as well as faculty recipients of the Keenan and Martine grant awards.
  Dr Gabriel Swarts and Dr Phillip Payne discuss Humanities Hub project with Dr Mike Hoffman
Faculty members Dr. Phillip Payne, chair of the Department of History and a professor of history, and Dr. Gabriel Swarts, assistant professor and adolescence education program director, received a grant for their ongoing Humanities Hub project, which is building connections between history and adolescent education. They are exploring ways of linking traditional historical inquiry and skills and bringing them into the digital space, making them interactive.
“Funding from a Keenan grant allowed us to purchase five virtual reality headsets,” Swarts said. “Our students can now do virtual field trips and pedagogy for their future classrooms using the headsets.”
During the 2021-2022 fiscal year, a total of 18 Keenan-Martine grants were awarded. 
Also during FY21-22, more than $1.9 million in scholarships was awarded to 526 deserving students. There were 19 new scholarships established in the past two years, bringing the total number of endowed and annual scholarships at the university to 347.

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

Seated Jane Jacques_Dane Surra_with from left McKenna Preston_Mary Sabatelle_and Sam Mallare

Jane Jacques, 94 years old (seated, front left) has been attending the Celebration of Excellence luncheon for more than 20 years. She and her sister, Lillian, created a scholarship in memory of their brother, Dr. Felix Jacques, who taught biology at the university for nearly 40 years. She is seated beside Dane Surra. Standing (from left) are scholarship recipients McKenna Preston, '22, Mary Sabatelle, '22, and Sam Mallare, '23.