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Buffalo State College Foundation Names New Chair, Board Members

Posted: December 13, 2018

Michael Bonitatibus, ’79, has been named chair of the Buffalo State College Foundation Board of Directors for 2018–2019.

Bonitatibus, who earned a bachelor’s in secondary education from Buffalo State, has owned Millington Lockwood Business Interiors for the past 16 years. Prior to that, he worked in sales for Herman Miller. Bonitatibus previously served as a vice chair of the foundation board. He’s also a former board member and treasurer of Kevin Guest House, member of the Villa Maria Interior Design Advisory Council, past vice chair of the UB Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership Alumni Association (CELAA), and past volunteer for Habitat for Humanity.

This year’s new vice chair is Jill M. Syracuse, executive vice president, chief engagement and servicing officer for Independent Health. Since joining Independent Health in 1985 as a marketing representative, she’s held several positions including assistant director of marketing, director of claims operations, vice president of internal operations, and most recently, senior vice president of member services. She also serves on the board of directors at Aspire and is a past president of the Hopevale board of directors and the American Marketing Association. She is a graduate of Leadership Buffalo and served as chairperson for Camp Good Days and Special Times’ Black Tie Gala.

Four other individuals have been named to the foundation board. They are:

James Brandys, ’71, ’73, who retired a few years ago as a managing director at Merrill Lynch (now a subsidiary of Bank America Corporation) after 39 years of service, served with distinction on the Buffalo State College Council. He also has served in the past on the Foundation Board of Directors and the Burchfield Penney Art Center Board of Trustees.

His leadership of the highly successful “Endowing the Future” scholarship campaign at Buffalo State not only raised more than $10 million for endowments but also gave birth to the college’s legacy giving group, the Peterson Society. The society currently has more than 340 members who have made planned gifts to the college.

James P. Lombardo Jr. ’95, is Managing Director of Clear Ocean Capital Advisors with Ameriprise Financial Services LLC in New York City. In 2010, he established the James P. Lombardo Sr. Award for Excellence that benefits Buffalo State art students. Lombardo also is involved with several community organizations including the Lymphoma Research Foundation, Volunteers of America, and a private foundation he and his sister developed in honor of their late father, James P. Lombardo Sr.

Aurora Schunk, staff representative, has served as the assistant director of the Civic and Community Engagement Office (formerly Volunteer and Service-Learning Center) for six years. Prior to this, she completed a term of service with the local AmeriCorps ABLE and was enlisted in the 107th Airlift Wing of the Air National Guard. She currently serves as the co-chair of the Board of Directors for the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network (YNPN) Greater Buffalo chapter and as the associate director of the Western New York Service-Learning Coalition steering committee. 

I’Jaz Eberhardt, student representative, is a senior Muriel A. Howard Honors student and student president of the honors program. She also is a member of Lambda Pi Eta, the Communication Department’s honor society, and serves as associate editor of the Buffalo State newspaper the Record.


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