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President Clemo Delivers Inaugural Address, The Purpose of Our Being

President Clemo Delivers Inaugural Address, The Purpose of Our Being

Describing bold vision of innovation for the future

Buffalo, New York – October 03, 2017 – D’Youville College’s new era began Sept. 29, when Lorrie A. Clemo, PhD, was inaugurated the College’s 15th president during ceremonies at Kleinhans Music Hall, located a few blocks from campus. President Clemo is the first lay president in the 108-year history of the College, and her inauguration was the first for the school in 38 years.

Leading off the processional were international students from 34 nations and representatives of the Student Government Association.

Among those taking part in the processional:  Bishop Richard J. Malone, bishop of Buffalo; the D’Youville College Board of Trustees; university vice presidents and deans and delegates from more than three dozen colleges and universities.

Three of President Clemo’s four children, Dr. Charles Nicolais, Adam Nicolais, and Dr. Maria Nicolais, also processed, representing their alma maters, Temple University, Fordham University, and Bowdoin College, respectively.

The colors were posted by D’Youville College’s Student Veterans Association Military Color Guard.

D’Youville’s two previous presidents, Sister Charlotte Barton, GNSH, and Sister Denise Roche, GNSH, attended.

Opening remarks were delivered by Chief Marshal and professor of Liberal Arts, Dr. John Abbarno. “It is more than nine months since Dr. Clemo joined the D’Youville Community. In this relatively brief time she has launched a vision with big ideas that aim to enhance the talents of the faculty and administrators to improve the educational experience of our students. She is committed to their education for life that will be innovative, liberating, and precise. It will serve as the foundations of all their aspirations.

“Dr. Clemo will build from the achievements provided by the rich history of the College, founded by the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart, but aims to transform and extend the College’s impact beyond the city boundaries with programs that meaningfully engage in global issues. Although she has taken different vows than her religious predecessors, she is committed to the principle of service but envisions new ways this may be realized."

In his opening prayer and remarks, Bishop Malone said the diocese joyfully welcomes her, “Thank you, President Clemo, for your commitment to D’Youville’s mission and identity. Thank you for honoring its Catholic heritage in the spirit of St. Marguerite d'Youville and the Grey Nuns, whose faith and dedication brought the College into being and nurtured it along the way. Thank you for your generous commitment to strengthen and support the school’s programs and platforms, but most especially its people: the students, faculty, staff and alumni who make D’Youville College the vibrant institution that it is. May your tenure here be filled with personal and professional fulfillment, joy, and prosperity.”

The installation was conducted by Charles J. Urlaub, chairman of D’Youville’s Board of Trustees.

He called it a “landmark event in the life of the college that we hold dear and value so highly. Lorrie’s candor and forthright manner are hallmarks of her character, leadership, and expectations.

“D’Youville was founded by impressive women, the Grey Nuns, who had visions of great accomplishments for Buffalo and for college-bound students. Lorrie, too, is committed to a great vision, a superior vision for the 21st century. She has spent her entire career working for higher education in New York State. She sees D’Youville pushing the boundaries, reaching new summits, reaching levels of accomplishment we have never achieved or attempted. She sees our campus as diverse and inclusive, full of promising self-starters, and most importantly, driven toward student success.”

During her inaugural address, “The Purpose of Our Being,” President Clemo remembered her mother, Mary May Clemo, who never had the opportunity to go to college.  “For over 40 years she served as an assistant to education administrators — ironically, people just like me. She was behind the scenes, but had an unmatched work ethic committing herself to a supporting role in the education of others, while making a happy life for my sisters and me.”

She also talked about her father, Charles, who at the age of 16 emigrated from Canada to the United States. He became a naturalized citizen, served in the U.S. Army as a medic during the Korean Conflict, then worked for 35 years in the service industry. “I am proud of what he did for our family, our country, and what he did to instill character and love of life in me. And, through his example of good Canadian humor, he taught me to take myself a little less seriously.”

President Clemo went on to describe her vision for the future of the college, which goes well beyond the West Side neighborhood where it has become and will continue to be an anchor.  “Going forward, D’Youville will continue along its progressive path, lead change and innovation in higher education.  We will embrace challenges as opportunities. Like St. Marguerite d’Youville and her relentless drive to heal the sick, we ask ourselves: What are the challenging needs of our time and how will we adapt to conquer these challenges?”

The answer, she said, is clear. It is for D’Youville to galvanize its efforts to develop courageous leaders who care for the world; expand the power of D’Youville in the world by building on its legacy, preparing students to live and work in a global community with global fluency and full engagement, and to expand opportunity with dedicated donors and trusted partners.

President Clemo reinforced D’Youville’s commitment to Buffalo and the West Side, “by training our students to provide culturally-responsive healthcare, assisting with the integration of children and their families into school and college, and improving the cultural competence of all of our students, faculty, and staff.”

She said the College will create additional community-based and international internships; more clinical placements; expand more study abroad and study away opportunities; enhance faculty resources in international relations; and support more community outreach.

“In short, D’Youville will ensure that every student’s experience is a global one, whether it’s here in our globally-networked neighborhood or in a needy nation abroad,” she said.

Taking education to the people where they are, and where their needs are, will be a priority, she said, promising to expand 24/7 online learning and onsite at your workplace instruction. “We are prepared to cascade our well-respected name and signature academic programs far beyond our campus to reach increased numbers of students through partnerships and collaborations that will allow us to deliver relevant experiences and programs in settings that will serve as living laboratories for learning.”

Voicing gratitude for the invitation to serve D’Youville College, President Clemo said, “I am committed to giving it my all, but it is not a job for one; it is a job for many.  We have a great deal to accomplish. The world is waiting for us. So, let’s go D’Youville, let’s get to work!”

Prior to her inauguration, President Clemo received several greetings:

On behalf of the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart, Sister Julia C. Lanigan, GNSH president or the order, noted President Clemo is “the first president of D’Youville who is not a Grey Nun. We entrust to you the legacy of the Grey Nuns here at D’Youville. This rich legacy has brought the College through many years of extraordinary achievements. May the mission of St. Marguerite d’Youville, that inspirits D’Youville College, flourish and grow under your capable leadership.”

On behalf of the City of Buffalo, Buffalo Mayor Byron M. Brown said he was pleased at how the city and D’Youville collaborate: “I’m especially grateful for our shared commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity. D’Youville College students, faculty, and staff serve this community in many ways, and our valuable partnership is something that we cherish. I am confident that Dr. Lorrie Clemo will expand this relationship even further, as the City of Buffalo also continues to grow and to thrive.”

On behalf of the student body, Christine Seibert ’17, ’20, president of the Student Government Association, said, “On this special day for all of us at D’Youville, I would like to share some words from a well-known, life-long student, Benjamin Franklin, who said: ‘Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.’  President Clemo, I am so excited to have you join with us in striving towards this ideal.”

On behalf of faculty, Gina Camodeca, PhD, president, Faculty Council: “We join with you in wanting D’Youville to be a place where faculty always believe they can do their best work. This means surrounding them with outstanding colleagues, students, and staff, providing cutting-edge infrastructure, developing the resources to support innovative research and teaching, and last, but not least, celebrating their successes. Today we celebrate the College and your leadership, but most importantly, we celebrate the work we will do together going forward.”

On behalf of support staff, Lori A. Marasco, chair, Support Staff Advisory Group:  “Each person who believes in what we do here, will be part of what we become here. Support staff are the backbone of the institution, the steady heartbeat and the helping hand in planning and execution. We embrace this exciting transition and look to the future with energy and excitement. Together, we see what can be accomplished together as one team.”

On behalf of administrative staff, Ryan Miller ’11, ’12, G’13, chair, Administrators Advisory Group:  “Agan Hasan Abedi, a famous banker and philanthropist once said, ‘The conventional definition of management is getting work done through people, but real management is developing people through work.’  Dr. Clemo, we embrace your vision of the future of D’Youville and encouraging a workplace of respect and empowerment. We recognize that the role of our administrative group is to be responsible for meeting our organizational objectives. Our D’Youville students of today and tomorrow expect and deserve nothing less.”

On behalf of alumni, Dolores Gaeta Prezyna ’70, Ed. D., ’14, president, Alumni Association Board of Directors: “Just weeks ago, I began a term as president of the Alumni Board, and was grateful for an opportunity to meet our new president. A few things were immediately evident: President Clemo’s commitment to education, her willingness to seek, listen, and learn from the experiences of others, and her obvious delight in having joined the D’Youville community. Dr. Clemo understands and appreciates the affection alumni have for D’Youville, as well as the current and potential ways we contribute to the character and health of the College.”

Earlier in the day, Bishop Richard J. Malone, bishop of Buffalo, celebrated a Mass of the Holy Spirit in honor of President Clemo’s inauguration. Following the Mass, a campus-wide luncheon was held. Students were given the day off from classes in honor of President Clemo’s inauguration.


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