Hilbert College Announces San Damiano Award Recipients

sandamiano_postcardHAMBURG, N.Y. – Hilbert College is pleased to announce this year’s San Damiano Award recipients, G. Gary Berner, Laurie Boreanaz Carra ‘81, Joan M. Crouse, Ph.D., Emily Pawelski ’18, Randy Surface ‘12 and Athletics Hall of Fame Inductees, James Ruggiero and Tricia Knight ’09. The Hilbert College San Damiano Awards honor alumni and friends of the college who personify Hilbert’s core values and tradition of integrity and excellence. Also recognized at the reception are the Hilbert College Athletics Hall of Fame Inductees.

The 11th Annual San Damiano Awards Reception will kick off True Blue Weekend at Hilbert.  True Blue Weekend welcomes alumni, parents and families, and current students to celebrate Hilbert all weekend.  The San Damiano Awards Reception is set for Friday, September 23.  The awards reception will begin at 5:30 p.m. with awards presentation following in the Franciscan Hall Atrium.  For more information visit: www.hilbert.edu/trueblue

Dominique Thompson Alumni of the Year Award – Given to the individual who demonstrates Hilbert’s Franciscan values and encompasses the true spirit of the college.
 Laurie Boreanaz Carra ‘81– Laurie earned her associate’s degree in legal studies from Hilbert College in 1981. From there she went on to earn a BA from SUNY Fredonia and her JD from Union University’s Albany Law School. She has 35 years of experience practicing law in private, higher education, government service, and corporate practice. In 2008, she joined Independent Health and is their Senior Deputy Counsel.  Laurie has been a dedicated member of the Alumni Association’s Board of Directors serving most recently as secretary.

Sister Adrienne Faculty / Staff Lifetime Achievement Award – Presented to a past or current faculty/staff member who emulates the characteristics that Sister Adrienne Rapnicki, FSSJ, exhibited during her tenure at Hilbert.
 Joan M. Crouse, Ph.D. – Dr. Crouse has been a professor of history at Hilbert College for 38 years.  Her expertise in social and cultural history have brought history to life for her students.  Classes she has taught include Women’s History, Making Sense of the Sixties and Photographing American History. In 1988, she had the opportunity to teach at the University of Waikato, in New Zealand, as a Fulbright Professor.  She has had a number of publications in scholarly journals and encyclopedias and published the book Vietnam in 1994.  Dr. Crouse received her Ph.D. from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

G.O.L.D (Graduate of the Last Decade) Award – Presented to Hilbert graduates of the last decade who have achieved career success and demonstrated significant volunteer service to their communities and/or Hilbert.
 Randy Surface ‘12 – Randy Surface graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. While attending Hilbert, he participated in the Honors Program. Randy served six years in the United States Marine Corps to include a combat deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Helmond Province, Afghanistan. He was honorably discharged with the rank of Sergeant. Currently, Randy is a Program Manager at M&T Bank which oversees analytics, process improvement, and project management.

Hilbert College Franciscan Values Award (non-alum) – Presented to a friend of Hilbert, who exemplifies the principles in which the college was founded and who has distinguished him/herself in their career and the community.
 G. Gary Berner – Mr. Berner served on the Hilbert College Board of Trustees from 1999-2009 and became Trustee Emeritus in May 2011. During his time on the Board, he served on the Audit/Finance and Investment Committees and still holds a seat with the Audit/Finance Committee today. He served as the Executive Vice President at First Niagara Bank through 2011 and currently serves as The Chairman of The Excelsior Growth Fund, which is affiliated with The New York Business Development Corporation.

St. Clare Student of the Year Award – Presented to a current student who has distinguished him/herself at Hilbert and in the community, as well as exemplifies the college’s Franciscan mission and tradition.
 Emily Pawelski ’18 – Emily Pawelski is a Junior Forensic Accounting major. Emily has been involved with many organizations on campus such as Student Government, Franciscan Spirit Club, Enactus, and Rotaract. She is part of the Honors Program and has completed the Emerging Leaders Program at Hilbert in April of 2016. Emily is a volunteer at Camp Good Days & Special Times and she also has traveled to the Dominican Republic where she completed a week’s worth of volunteer work. Emily is also a member of the Orchard Park Symphony where she plays the violin.

Athletics Hall of Fame Inductees – Recognizes former Hilbert student-athletes, coaches and supporters who have contributed to the success of the college both on and off the athletic field.

 Tricia Knight ’09– Tricia Knight ’09 of Sardinia, NY is the first Hilbert women’s soccer player to be selected to three consecutive Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference All-Conference teams, earning a spot on the Second Team twice.  She helped guide the program to 18 wins and concluded her 50 game, three-year career with 32 goals and 74 points. She is the soccer program’s leader in shots per game (4.08) and is still ranked No. 2 in the Hawks All-Time records in goals per game, shots per game, shots attempted, shots on goal and shots on goal per game.  Additionally, she holds single-season records in shots on goal (54) and shots on goal per game (3.60) after her first season in the Royal and White (2006) when she was named to the AMCC  Third Team All-Conference.  She currently serves as the Quality Assurance Coordinator for Navient.

 James Ruggiero– James Ruggiero served as the head coach of the women’s soccer program for 12 seasons leading the Hawks through two different athletic conferences and found success each step of the way.  Ruggiero’s final four seasons in the North Eastern Athletic Conference (NEAC) were spent battling in the conference tournament championship game and he guided the 2002 and 2003 teams to NEAC titles.  Hilbert joined the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) in 2004, and in 2006, his Hawks qualified for the program’s first and only appearance in the AMCC play-offs before falling in the semi-final game.  Coach Ruggiero holds the All-Time Win record at 85-110-12, and he twice was named Coach of the Year (2002 NEAC and 2006 AMCC).  The East Aurora native has coached 25 All-Conference players and guided a total of 75 Academic All-Conference student-athletes.  His teams were recognized by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America for their Team Academic success in the classroom and for their Sportsmanship on the field. In 2006, Ruggiero joined the Kenmore East Athletic Hall of Fame. Since 1986, Ruggiero has been a registered architect (James A. Ruggiero Design) and is currently the Department Chair and an instructor in the Architecture Technology department at Erie Community College.