The accomplishments of three individuals were recognized at Niagara University’s 2021 President’s Dinner Dec. 10 at the Conference & Event Center Niagara Falls. The event also raised $400,000—the highest total ever--toward student scholarship assistance.
Judith Quigley Ruse, ’69, received the St. Louise de Marillac award. Prior to her retirement, Ruse was a clinical trial and data manager for Janssen Biotech, an organization that specializes in the treatment of cancer and immune-related disorders, including Crohn’s Disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and plaque psoriasis. She began her career as a cardiovascular nurse-specialist at the University of Pennsylvania hospital, and then joined Johnson & Johnson, where she managed global drug clinical trials for the pharmaceutical company. She was also co-founder of The Wellness Community, a patient support group for cancer patients in the Philadelphia area. A dedicated advocate for STEM education, Ruse has supported nursing and science programs at the university and serves on its Board of Advisors.
Elizabeth Triggs, founder & CEO, None Like You Family Education Community Outreach, received the St. Vincent de Paul Award for her service to the people on the margins of society. Since 1992, her nonprofit organization has assisted members of Buffalo’s East Side community obtain the resources they need, from education programs to help them earn GEDs to financial assistance to help pay heating bills. It also leads efforts to improve the quality of life for residents by transforming vacant lots into green spaces and garden walks, eliminating blight and creating areas for the community to gather and enjoy.
Robert D. Gioia, president of The John R. Oishei Foundation, received the Legacy of Service award. Under Gioia’s leadership, the foundation has supported the Buffalo-Niagara region’s education, healthcare, social services, and cultural institutions and initiatives, as well as some of its most notable and consequential projects, such as developments on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, Buffalo’s waterfront, the expansion of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, and the creation of the National Comedy Center in Jamestown. More recently, he has been an important advocate and promoter of the foundation’s diversity, equity and inclusion work, exemplified by the foundation’s public commitment to racial equity in 2018 and the development of programs supporting nonprofit leaders of color.
Kathleen L. Neville, M.A.’15, and Karen L. Siembida Howard, ’84, members of Niagara University’s Board of Trustees, served as co-chairs of the event.