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Peterson Society Inducts 13 New Members

Posted: October 4, 2017

Buffalo State College’s Peterson Society inducted 13 new members at its annual luncheon on September 14 at the Buffalo Club.

The Peterson Society recognizes those who have made a generous gift to the college in their wills or through other estate planning means. The group has a total membership of more than 370 donors.

New members welcomed into the society this year included Jean A. May Brett, ’74, ’77; Maria A. Ceprano, Ph.D.; Leslie K. Day, ’78; Peter Lewis Gabak; Lillian L. Gondree, ’67, ’70; Sharon R. Venema, ’76; and Peter A. Vukelic. Karen Florence Blankenship, ’72; Richard James Coughlin, ’41; and Helen Grunebaum were inducted posthumously. Three anonymous donors were inducted as well.

The ceremony also honored members of the society who died during the past year: Margaret Eschner Bacon, ’41; Blankenship; Coughlin; Robert Lyall Flock, ’59; Thelma Popp Jones, ’44; Robert Valentine Loft, ’60, ’63; Lorraine M. Meinke, ’56, ’59; Henry D. Olsen, ’63, ’65; Alice M. Wehrung Schmidt, ’41; and Esther E. Westendorf, ’39.

The Peterson Society is named for the late Harold F. Peterson and his late wife, Lucille Mattern Peterson, ’39, in honor of their legacy of giving to Buffalo State. Dr. Peterson served as a professor and chair of the History Department and became the first faculty member from Buffalo State to receive the State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching. He was later honored with the title of Distinguished Professor, the highest honor awarded by the SUNY system. Upon retirement, he established a trust that first provided for Lucille during her lifetime and now provides scholarships for Buffalo State students.

Previously known as the Heritage Society, the planned giving society was renamed the Peterson Society in recognition of Harold and Lucille’s commitment to the college and their encouragement to others to leave a lasting legacy at Buffalo State. Their dedication to Buffalo State lives on today, continuing to benefit students who aspire to follow in their footsteps of scholarship and leadership.

For more information or to become a member of the Peterson Society, please contact Michelle Rudnicki in the Buffalo State Development Office at 878-4508 or visit


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