St. Bonaventure University will honor four outstanding Buffalo community members with the 2016 Gaudete Medal on Thursday, April 28, 2016, at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo. John G.,’88, and Suzanne Berger, Jack Connors and Fr. Joseph Bayne, O.F.M., Conv., will receive Gaudete (pronounced gow-DAY-tay) honors for their selfless contributions to society at the event chaired by Greg Bruno, ’74, of Williamsville.
“The purpose for Gaudete, which in Latin translates to ‘rejoice,’ is to recognize brothers and sisters who are successful in their careers and exhibit the Franciscan spirit of service, love and joy in all their daily endeavors. This is what we define as the Bonaventure spirit and what makes our community so special,” said Bruno.
The celebration will begin with cocktails at 6 p.m. and continue with dinner at 7 p.m., followed by the medal presentations. For information concerning tickets, sponsorship and event advertising, contact Monica Mattioli at email@example.com, or visit www.sbu.edu/gaudete.
The honorees are:
John, ’88, and Suzanne Berger – John G. Berger Jr. serves as a partner at Lawley Benefits Group, where he has been since 2009 and leads the financial, underwriting and reporting unit. He serves as a member of the board of directors and committees for several Western New York organizations such as the St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute Advancement Committee, where he is a 2015 Signum Fidei Society inductee. John and Suzanne Berger were corporate co-chairs of the 2015 Catholic Charities of Buffalo Appeal and served as the chair couple for the 2014 Lasallian “Bright Futures” Dinner and Auction. The Bergers reside in Williamsville, where they are parishioners of St. Gregory the Great parish. John Berger received his bachelor’s degree in finance from St. Bonaventure in 1988.
Jack Connors, president and publisher of Business First, is a lifelong resident of Buffalo. He began his esteemed journalism career at the Buffalo Courier-Express and is the founding editor of Business First. Connors currently serves as the chairman of the board of trustees of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library, treasurer of the Library Foundation of Buffalo and Erie County and as a member of the Workforce Investment Board. A graduate of Canisius College and SUNY at Albany, Connors resides in Hamburg with his wife, Maureen. They have three grown children, two of whom — son Darcy, ’09, and daughter Maura, ’05 — are St. Bonaventure graduates.
Fr. Joseph Bayne, O.F.M., Conv. (Our Lady of the Angels Province friar), a native of Baltimore, serves as the executive director of The Franciscan Center, Inc. of Buffalo. Since 1990, Fr. Bayne has worked to help at-risk teenagers transform their lives and re-enter family life or independent living through goal-setting. His work also includes helping men, women and children in crisis situations through outreach, counseling and referrals. Among many other things, he dedicates much time and energy serving as Chaplain to the Buffalo Fire Department, the Town of Hamburg Police Department and the Erie County Emergency services. In 1980, Fr. Bayne received a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. Hyacinth College and Seminary in Granby, Massachusetts. He also attended St. Anthony-on-Hudson Seminary, where he was ordained a priest in 1985.
About the University: The nation’s first Franciscan university, we believe in the goodness of every person and in the ability of every person to do extraordinary things. 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. Named the #5 best college value in the North by U.S. News and World Report, we are establishing pathways to internships, graduate schools and careers in the context of our renowned liberal arts tradition. Our students are becoming extraordinary.