Feb. 2, 1971 – Jan. 27, 2018
Kevin F. Donovan was one of the stars of the Educational Development Program at SUNY Fredonia.
The college’s enhanced version of the statewide Educational Opportunity Program to assist minority students, established by former Deputy Assembly Speaker Arthur O. Eve in 1970, provided mentoring and other support to Mr. Donovan when he arrived as a freshman.
He and his wife, the former Satoria Polk, also an EDP student at Fredonia, not only went on to successful professional careers, they also established a replica of the EDP program 10 years ago for students in the Buffalo area.
Urban Professionals of Western New York, a nonprofit organization, brings professionals together for networking, education and resource development and encourages them to become mentors to minority high school and college students.
“Urban Professionals was a way for us to give something back,” Mr. Donovan told an interviewer in 2014, when the EDP program honored him and his wife with Distinguished Alumni Awards, shown in the photo. “It gives (members) a network of people to lean upon.”
A financial adviser for more than 20 years, he died Jan. 27 in Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital, Amherst, after a brief struggle with cancer. He was 46.
Born in Syracuse, one of seven children, he was a 1989 graduate of Henninger High School in Syracuse. He received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Fredonia State in 1994 and a master’s degree in English there in 1996. He was class president and a captain of the Blue Devils basketball team.
“He was doing orientation during my freshman orientation,” said his wife, a special education consultant and teacher who graduated from Fredonia State with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1996. “He was representing the basketball team and we became friends.”
They were married in 1997.
Mr. Donovan first entered the management training program at the former Holiday Inn on Grand Island, then was assistant manager at a restaurant before starting his financial services career with AXA Equitable Life Insurance Co. He won several sales awards and within four years was named regional vice president.
He became an independent financial representative in 2006 and was co-founder of the Benefits Consulting Group, which offers financial services in the Buffalo and Rochester areas.
He became affiliated with Mass Mutual Financial Group in Amherst as a managing associate in 2010. He oversaw the Mass Mutual Buffalo Scholarship Program.
He also served on the board of the Buffalo Zoo, was a member of Lasting Education for Women, Adults, and Children, was active in the Zion Dominion Church of God in Christ, and coached Little League football and basketball.
A Master Mason, he was a member of Paramount Lodge 73.
Survivors also include three sons, Kevin J., Kendal J. and Kaeden; his mother, Rachel Stroman; his stepfather, Willis “Kareem” Bunkley; his father, Kevin Sr.; four brothers, Charles, Kareem, Cicero and Caleb; and a sister, La’retta Stroman-Castro.
A funeral service was held Feb. 3 in Zion Dominion Global Ministries, 895 N. Forest Road, Amherst.