The University at Buffalo will award its highest honor, the Chancellor Charles P. Norton Medal, posthumously to M&T Bank Corp.'s Mark J. Czarnecki.
The award will be presented May 20 during the UB School of Management's undergraduate commencement ceremony, the university said.
Czarnecki, M&T's president and chief operating officer, died in February. He launched his 40-year career at M&T after graduating from UB in 1977, and later served as vice chairman of the UB Council.
UB said Czarnecki "served with great distinction and exceptional dedication" as vice chairman of the council. The university also said Czarnecki was "a champion of many UB initiatives" and was part of the 2010 presidential search committee and a trustee for the UB Foundation.
The Norton Medal is presented annually to recognize a person who has “performed some great thing which is identified with Buffalo … a great civic or political act, a great book, a great work of art, a great scientific achievement or any other thing which, in itself, is truly great and ennobling, and which dignifies the performer and Buffalo in the eyes of the world.”
M&T chairman and CEO Robert G. Wilmers said Czarnecki "distinguished himself as both a leader and a servant of others."
"In addition to the significant role he played as president of M&T Bank, Mark was particularly and deeply committed to the Westminster Community Charter School and the Buffalo Promise Neighborhood, where his efforts helped enrich the lives of children and families, and he helped create a better and stronger community,” Wilmers said in a statement. “His leadership, service and humble devotion are greatly missed, but his legacy lives on in all of us as we carry forth Mark’s example.”
The medal's past recipients include Wilmers, Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra music director JoAnn Falletta, Bills owner Ralph C. Wilson Jr., and Rich Products founder Robert E. Rich Sr.