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Four community leaders to be honored at Citation Banquet

Four community leaders will be honored as the National Federation for Just Communities of Western New York holds its 2014 Citation Banquet at 6 p.m. April 10 in the Hyatt Regency Buffalo.

The honorees are JoAnn Falletta, music director of the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra; Christopher H. Koch, chief executive officer of New Era Cap Co.; Monsignor David G. LiPuma, pastor of St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Lewiston; and Satish K. Tripathi, president of the University at Buffalo.

Since coming to Buffalo in 1999, Falletta has expanded the orchestra’s touring schedule and its recording activity, has attracted a stellar lineup of guest performers and has arranged for the orchestra to be featured on NPR, PBS and the European Broadcasting Union.

A virtuoso classical guitarist, she has collaborated with WNED to create the annual JoAnn Falletta International Guitar Concerto Competition in Buffalo. Koch is a fourth-generation chief executive officer of the family-owned New Era, having joined the business after graduating from high school, and has transformed the local company into an internationally-recognized brand.

He was instrumental in gaining a deal with Major League Baseball to become exclusive supplier of on-field caps for the league in 1993, the year he was named company president. Since becoming CEO in 2002, he has secured a long-term licensing deal with the National Football League.

Active in the community, he serves on the boards of the Buffalo Sabres Foundation and the Erie County Law Enforcement Foundation and is a trustee of the Elmwood Franklin School. LiPuma was the top administrator in the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo for 17 years, serving as vice chancellor of the diocese and priest secretary to three bishops, Henry J. Mansell, Edward U. Kmiec and Richard J. Malone, before he began his pastoral duties in Lewiston last August.

A Buffalo native, he was ordained in 1987 and joined the chancery in 1993 as acting director of the Office of Worship. He serves on the board of directors of Nardin Academy and has been honored several times for his involvement with the community.

Tripathi, appointed the 15th president of UB in 2011, had served as the university’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs since 2004 and was one of the chief architects of the UB 2020 strategic plan. As provost, he recruited many prominent new faculty.

Born in India, he graduated at the top of his class at Banaras Hindu University and earned his doctorate in computer science from the University of Toronto. He was a professor of computer science for 19 years at the University of Maryland, including seven years as department chairman, and was dean of the Bourns College of Engineering at the University of California-Riverside for seven years before coming to UB.

Prominent as a community leader, he serves on the boards of directors of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Great Lakes Health and the Buffalo Urban League and was appointed by Cuomo as co-chairman of the Regional Economic Development Council for Western New York.

Co-chairing this year’s banquet are NFJC board members Peter A. Vukelic and Laura A. Zaepfel.

The NFJC has worked to combat racism and other discrimination in the area since it was founded as a branch of the National Conference of Christians and Jews in 1951. For information and tickets to the dinner, call 853-9596 or visit