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Honor Roll / Recognizing the accomplishments of Western New Yorkers

Dr. Candace S. Johnson, president and CEO at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, was recently named a New York State Woman of Distinction. Johnson joins other prominent New York women holding that honor, including Susan B. Anthony, Lucille Ball and Harriet Tubman.

She is the first female leader of the 118-year-old comprehensive cancer center, holding the Wallace Family chair in Translational Research and also serving as professor of oncology. State Sen. Michael H. Ranzenhofer, R-Amherst, nominated Johnson for outstanding contributions in enriching the quality of life in Western New York.

Johnson, who joined the faculty of Roswell Park in February 2002, is the institute’s 15th president and CEO. She previously was deputy director and chair of the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics. She earned a doctoral degree in immunology from Ohio State University, Columbus, and completed research and post-doctoral fellowships in immunology/cell biology at the Michigan Center Foundation, Detroit.


Joshua Russell, assistant professor of animal behavior, ecology and conservation at Canisius College, is the recipient of a 2016 Culture and Animal Foundation grant. The $2,000 grant will support his research project, “Children on the Hunt: A Multi-Method Study on Hunting and Fishing.


Susan G. Komen Western New York honored Lisa Faturos with the 2016 Nora McGuire Volunteer Award.

Created in 2015, the award was named for founder and longtime volunteer leader of the Komen Western New York Race for the Cure. McGuire was honored in 2015 as the first recipient of the honor, which will be awarded every year for “extraordinary effort, outstanding leadership and dedicated commitment to the breast cancer cause.”

Faturos, of Amherst, has been volunteering for Komen for 10 years, working as the chair of the Finance Committee and as lead for finance and accounting for the entire Western New York affiliate. Faturos selflessly devoted several hours a week to Komen.

Faturos, who has been controller at McGard LLC for 25 years, will accept the award at the 2016 Komen Race for the Cure, to be held June 11 at Buffalo RiverWorks, 359 Ganson St.

Since 2001, Susan G. Komen Western New York has donated more than $4.6 million to local breast health and breast cancer programs, with the majority raised through the Race for the Cure. This will be the 16th anniversary of the race in Buffalo and the first time at Buffalo RiverWorks.


Kathryn Graf, director of alumni relations at Daemen College, and the Student Alumni Ambassadors (SAA) organization were selected as first-time recipients of awards presented by the Council for Advancement of Education Affiliated Student Advancement Programs District II.

Graf, who serves as moderator of Daemen’s SAA organization, was selected as an outstanding adviser in recognition of facilitating progress within the organization and serving as an exceptional mentor to students.

Daemen SAA received an Outstanding Student Advancement Program award for its student philanthropy program, “How One Thank-You Makes a Difference.” It is the first win for the student organization in this new award category and the fifth consecutive year the group has been recognized by CASE ASAP.

Graf has served as Daemen’s alumni relations director since 2013. She previously held other alumni-related positions in the Office of Institutional Advancement. Graf earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in painting from Daemen and a master’s degree in college student personnel administration from Canisius College.


Orleans County recently presented the 2016 Heritage Heroes Awards at Genesee Community College in Albion. Created in 2014, the awards recognize the efforts of those who have given time, work and money to preserve and protect local heritage.

This year’s Heritage Heroes are:

Tim Archer – The Albion Middle School teacher and his students cleaned up the long-neglected county almshouse cemetery in Albion. After the cleanup, students researched the names of nearly 160 residents buried there. More recently, Archer and his students wanted to honor Charles Herbert Taylor, the only known resident of Orleans County to be killed at the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War. Archer applied to the William G. Pomeroy Foundation for a grant to erect a historic marker on his grave in Hillside Cemetery, Holley.

Margaret Wiley – Led the Oak Orchard Lighthouse Committee, which rebuilt the historic Lake Ontario lighthouse, which was destroyed during a violent storm in 1916. Wiley helped to raise more than $300,000 for the work. Completed in 2010, the lighthouse features a museum and the recently added Children’s Peace Garden.

Al Capurso – The Town of Gaines historian was honored for his many contributions, including the naming of a creek after pioneer Elizabeth Gilbert, hosting a dedication ceremony and making the sign marking Gilbert Creek. More recently, he led an effort to save the cobblestone schoolhouse on Gaines Basin Road. Built in 1832, the schoolhouse, which was used until 1944, fell into disrepair and had long faded from public memory until Capurso and a sympathetic crew cleaned, painted and repaired the centuries-old structure and erected a historic marker at the site.

In addition, two special awards were bestowed:

Robert E. Waters Award for Lifetime Achievement – Retired Town of Gaines historian Delia Robinson. An authority on cobblestone construction, Robinson is the author of “Cobblestone Buildings of Orleans County” and served as the resource librarian at the Cobblestone Society and Museum. She also is author of “Historical Amnesia,” highlighting the contributions of women in shaping Orleans County, and was instrumental in the posting of historical markers honoring women in Orleans County.

C.W. “Bill” Lattin Award for Excellence in Municipal History – Melissa Ierlan, Town of Clarendon historian and president of the Clarendon Historical Society. Ierlan has dedicated time and labor to restoring faded historical markers, stripping them of old paint and repainting them. Ierlan also has been instrumental in the restoration of the red sandstone, gothic revival chapel at Hillside Cemetery in Holley.


The New York State Association for the Education of Young Children recently honored Kate Dust, vice president for Education and Staff Development at EduKids Inc., its 2016 Champion for Early Childhood Leader Award.

The award recognizes those who have dedicated their work, time and resources to children, families and the field of early child care and education. It was presented during the association’s conference at the Hilton Westchester in Rye Brook.

The association’s mission is to promote excellence in early care and education for New York State children and families through education, advocacy and the support of the profession.

Dust holds bachelor and master of science degrees in education from SUNY Buffalo State. A past association president, she is a nationally recognized professional development trainer and also serves as an instructor at the SUNY Buffalo State School of Education. Dust has been important member of the EduKids team since its inception in 1989.