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BUFFALO, N.Y. – D'Youville is excited to honor several distinguished graduates at this year's "Presidential Welcome & Alumni Awards Brunch." This event will take place on September 24, on the 3rd Floor of our Health Professions HUB.

Our Alumni Awards recognize our graduates' astonishing achievements, the outstanding success they have found after their time at D'Youville, and the continuous services they offer to their community. The Alumni Association Awards to alums include the Anne Lum Distinguished Alumni Award, Delta Sigma Award, and the Young Alumni Award. 

This year's recipient of the highest honor presented to alumni and the Anne Lum Distinguished Alumni Award is Dr. Jean Alberti '57. The award is bestowed annually upon alums who have achieved distinction through professional achievement and excellence in their chosen profession, involvement in community affairs, service to D'Youville, or any combination of these factors. The award is named for the late Anne Ryan Lum '24, whose volunteer service resulted in the establishment of the Loyalty Fund, now known as The Fund for D'Youville.

Some of our other 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients are Kayla Deth '14, Dr. Takesha Leonard '09, '15, and Carolynn Welch '04, the Delta Sigma Award, and Habiba Mohamed '16, Young Alumni Award.

The Delta Sigma Award and membership in the Marguerite d'Youville Honor Society are bestowed annually upon alums who exemplify the qualities of service apparent in the life of Saint Marguerite d'Youville. 

The Young Alumni Award recognizes alums who have graduated within the past ten years, have distinguished themselves among their peers, and have the potential for continued success in their chosen profession.

The program begins at 10:00 am with a welcome from president Lorri A. Clemo, Ph.D., and the award ceremony follows.

 To learn more about this year's Alumni Award Recipients, visit their bio's below.

Anne Lum Distinguished Alumni Award | Dr. Jean Alberti '57

The award is bestowed annually upon alumni who have achieved distinction through professional achievement and distinction in their chosen profession, involvement in community affairs, service to D’Youville, or any combination of these factors.  The award is named for the late Anne Ryan Lum '24, whose volunteer service resulted in the establishment of the Loyalty Fund, now known as The Fund for D’Youville.

Jean Alberti has dedicated her life to bettering the lives of children. She makes her alma mater proud. Jean has been a dedicated donor for decades. She is an advocate against bullying. She has pioneered efforts and helped change the conversation on bullying. Jean is a loyal alumna. She has attended various events on D’Youville’s campus including reunions, commencement and the recent presidential inauguration. She is committed to improving the world. She would be a fantastic award winner for D’Youville. 
Alberti’s distinguished career in education and clinical psychology led her to develop groundbreaking theories on bullying. She coined the phrase “bullying abuse” to show the linkage between adults’ physical and/or emotional abuse behaviors that are punishable by law and children’s physical bullying and cyberbullying behaviors; leading her to also develop the phrase, “Bullying abuse is child abuse by children.” 
After receiving her BS in elementary education from D'Youville, Alberti earned a master’s and PhD from UB where she served as a graduate assistant and then director of the Office of University Research in Student Affairs. 
Instead of “teaching teachers how to teach,” she became an assistant professor at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago, “teaching physicians how to teach.” She was associate professor and chair of the Chicago Medical School’s Department of Medical Education, a grant reviewer for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and director of evaluation for two NIH grants. Alberti then earned another master’s and became a licensed clinical psychologist doing cognitive-behavioral therapy. She continues her decades-long private practice in Chicago. 
She established the Dr. Jean M. Alberti Center for the Prevention of Bullying Abuse and School Violence at UB’s Graduate School of Education. She has earned GSE’s distinguished alumni award and the dean’s service award as well as being featured in the International Dictionary of Distinguished Leadership and several editions of Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the Midwest and Who’s Who of Professional Women: Women of Influence Series, as the sole entry in its Executive Spotlight section. She also has been honored by and served as the president of Pi Lambda Theta, the international honor society and professional association in education. 
She started her career as a graduate of D'Youville, as an Elementary Teacher for eight years in Cheektowaga & Tonawanda NY. She saw firsthand the consequences bullying had on students "different" from the "majority." Her second career, after her PhD from SUNY/Buffalo, was as an Evaluator of NIH, World Health Organization [WHO] and Kellogg Foundation grants for teacher-training programs for physicians from the U.S. [NIH]; from Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia [WHO]; for allied health faculty from the U.S [Kellogg]. Her third career, after securing a master's in counseling psychology, had been, for 25+ years, as a Clinical Psychologist. It was during this career that her interest in bullying developed - because of a convergence of her abiding interest in Education and child/human development and her clinical experiences. Jean M. Alberti, PhD, was presented with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award by Marquis Who's Who. 
Jean notes “What is wrong, I believe, is the thinking of Teachers, Administrators and Superintendents - thinking that "this is normal," that "boys will be boys," that "it's natural child/adolescent development." Unless and until we change this thinking, I don't believe the problem will be solved. The presentation, "3 Steps to Ending School Violence, Abuse & Bullying," will focus on what the new thinking should be and what else can and should be done - in schools, at home, and in society.” 

Delta Sigma | Kayla Deth

The Delta Sigma Award and membership in the Marguerite d'Youville Honor Society is bestowed annually upon alumni who exemplify the qualities of service apparent in the life of Saint Marguerite d'Youville. Honorees have improved the quality of life of others through service to D’Youville, family, church, community, and national or international endeavors.

I first met Kayla in our freshman year at D’ Youville at volleyball try outs. We clicked from the start and bonded over our mutual anticipatory nervousness of now being in college and starting a new endeavor. Little did I know, I had met someone who was going to be a dear lifelong friend. During the four years at D’Youville, Kayla was a leader on volleyball court, but in the community as well. 
After graduating from D’ Youville, Kayla moved to the Dominican Republic for two years and worked with underserved children to help learn English and spread the message of love and the Lord. She parallels her mission with Saint Marguerite D’Youville with her commitment to her faith and dedication to underrepresented populations. After coming back home from the Dominican Republic, Kayla worked for a nonprofit agency managing care for children with English as their second language. During this time, she also coached volleyball, and volunteered with Hospice. Kayla is also active in her local faith community and attends church regularly. One of my favorite parts of Kayla’s is her dedication to doing the right thing while maintaining humility and humor. She is the glue to her friends, family, and her community through dedication to connection, communication, and listening. Kayla embodies the saying lead by example. 



Aspiring nurse with extensive experience in a variety of local and international health care bilingual (Spanish) positions utilizing my Master in Public Health and Psychology degrees. Currently finishing the accelerated nursing program at the State University of New York at Buffalo expected to complete May 2022.  



Bachelor of Science in Nursing, expected May 2022 

The State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York 

  1. Fuld Fellow & Scholarship Recipient 
  2. Basic Life Support (BLS) Certification, American Heart Association 2021
  3. Master of Public Health, August 2016 - Daemen College, Amherst, NY
  4. Capstone Project on Evaluation of Wellness Teams in Buffalo Public Schools
  5. Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, May 2014 - D’Youville College, Buffalo, NY
  6. Selected to present the Student Reflection Speech at D’Youville College’s 55th Honors Convocation
  7. International Study Abroad Program in Italy


COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT                                                              

The Center for Hospice and Palliative Care, Buffalo, New York,  

Direct Care Volunteer - January 2016-present 

  1. Directly assist patients and their loved ones to promote end-of-life comfort
  2. Volunteer in the Hospice Inpatient Unit and patient homes to provide supportive care

Serve on committees for two major fundraising events per year 

Delta Sigma | Dr. Takesha Leonard '09, '15


The Delta Sigma Award and membership in the Marguerite d'Youville Honor Society is bestowed annually upon alumni who exemplify the qualities of service apparent in the life of Saint Marguerite d'Youville. Honorees have improved the quality of life of others through service to D’Youville, family, church, community, and national or international endeavors.

Takesha Leonard blends faith with health care on the East Side of Buffalo. She is the embodiment of service to community leading with faith and her strong D'Youville Education. 
Takesha Leonard is a family nurse practitioner at Jericho Road Community Health Center. She is proud of her time at D’Youville. She is currently planning a fall 2022 speech where she is going to speak on: Residing in low-income communities presents a variety of challenges for families, with access to equitable, affordable, and respectful health care being one of the most prevalent. This session will focus on the task of providing primary healthcare in an inner-city community and the positive impact that quality and compassionate healthcare can have on an entire neighborhood. This talk aims to allow people unfamiliar with working in black and brown communities to glimpse into the day-to-day life of a primary care provider and, to recognize the beauty and fulfillment in this work.
The D’Youville Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau, (Zeta Nu) the international nursing honor society has her as a keynote speaker in 2018. As keynote, she addressed the 80 new inductees across the undergraduate and graduate programs and guests. Leonard touched on observations made by a non-medical person about the medical care of Jericho Road. She also emphasized being able to look through a window and having a bigger, broader, non-judgmental lens when caring for the underprivileged and the underserved.
There have been multiple articles written about her quality of care in Buffalo Business First. Here is one article:
Born and raised in the Bronx by parents with drug addictions, she and her siblings ended up in foster care. But her story has a happy ending: She won a full scholarship to the University at Buffalo that changed her life.
“I got on a Greyhound bus and never looked back,” she said. “It gives my patients who are going through similar circumstances hope, and it makes me relevant. I made it through this, I understand.”
Leonard earned her registered nursing degree from UB, went on to D’Youville College for a master’s as a nurse practitioner, then a doctorate in health policy. But she has not done. Now she is back at UB for a post-master’s as a psychiatric nurse practitioner to help her patients who have spent the last two years struggling through Covid-19 as well as the trauma associated with George Floyd’s death.
“I have to do something where I can help holistically,” she said. “I’m not going to just take some classes. I’m going to really go back and learn how to do this well.” Leonard’s dedication to the East Side is intense. In addition to her work as a family nurse practitioner, she is the medical director of Jericho Road’s Doat Street site, where she handles personnel and administration.
Leonard is also involved with Faith Word Fellowship International, a non-denominational church with a diverse membership; and she serves on the board for a new charter school under development on the East Side as well as the Christian Community Health Fellowship. All that keeps her busy by itself, on top of raising five boys ages 8 to 19 with her husband Shawn, a mental health counselor. But she knows the work that goes into earning another degree this summer will be worth it.
“It’s got to get done, I know the outcome. I’m going to bring this back to the East Side and it’ll be worth it. I’m exhausted, but I know how helpful this is,” she said. Leonard says there’s no time to wait for someone else to provide the services her patients need. She can relate to their struggles and their triumphs. That's why she recorded herself getting a Covid-19 vaccination last spring to share with her patients.
“I’m making sure my patients know they’re walking into a place in the middle of the ‘hood and feel valued and treated well,” she said. “I make sure everyone around me is given respectful care.” She’s also dedicated to Jericho Road’s Christian-based philosophies, which aligns with her own beliefs and the lessons she wants her own children to learn.
“Not all these patients come in happy. A lot of them come in broken because of the system and all kinds of other things. I need to take away all that and see them as a person and I didn’t feel like I could do that anywhere else, praying with them, crying with them,” she said. “I didn’t think I could find a place that would allow me to be who I am and express myself spiritually.”
Takesha Leonard 
Day job/community: Jericho Road Community Health Center
Takesha is not only a model health care provider, she is a model community member and citizen who cares deeply for patients who live on the East Side. When Jericho Road opened its former clinic at Genesee and Doat in 2004, Takesha went door to door to introduce herself and invite residents to come for care. In fiscal year 2019-20, that health center provided 8,799 visits to 3,300 patients under her direction. Last month, a new East Side location opened on Doat Street. Takesha was instrumental in getting the clinic up and running and now serves as medical director at the site. When the pandemic began, Takesha advocated strongly for Jericho Road to bring barrier-free testing to the East Side. She recognized that there was an extreme lack of testing options there along with residents who lacked primary physicians, computers and cars. She is also a fierce advocate for the vaccine. She even filmed herself receiving the first dose and encouraged others to also get vaccinated. 
Here is a reflection on her career and life: 
Takesha Leonard Ed.D., family nurse practitioner, Doat Site medical director, Jericho Road Community Health Center/Landmark Health, Buffalo 
Years in health care: 20 
Years with your company: 12 
Born in: Bronx 
Lives in: East Amherst 
College: BSN, University at Buffalo; MSN, FNP-BC, D’Youville ; EdD, health policy/administration, University at Buffalo; post-master’s certification psych NP (exp. 2022) 
Spouse: Shawn 
Children: Na’im, Z’Aire, Shawn Jr., Ta’Ziyah, Judah 
Awards/achievements: ANCC certification; D’Youville Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart Medal; completed a two-year fellowship with the University at Buffalo - Primary Care Champion in Addiction Medicine; Reach Out and Read Certification 
One-word self-description: Driven 
Who is your hero: My grandmother, Margaret Bolden. We were in foster care, the four of us, and she was the one who came and got us all out. That house was full of love. She taught me to see life beyond, to have that sense of family and love. 
What keeps you up at night: The injustice in our health-care system, the things that I try so hard to change and I can’t. 
Proudest accomplishment in the last year: Helping to start the first no-barrier Covid testing clinic on the East Side of Buffalo; proud member of the NYS Covid Vaccine Equity Task Force 
Lesson learned in Covid year: Remove barriers, be present, build trust. These are the only ways we can ensure health equity and help to combat the Covid virus in all communities! 
Entered my profession because: After experiencing some of the many inequities in health care that my patients face, I wanted to be a bigger part of the solution. 
When I’m not working, I’m: Crocheting, watching high school football, baking bread 
Best advice received: Don’t sweat the small stuff. 
My wishful super power: The power to bring peace 

Delta Sigma | Carolynn Welch '04


The Delta Sigma Award and membership in the Marguerite d'Youville Honor Society is bestowed annually upon alumni who exemplify the qualities of service apparent in the life of Saint Marguerite d'Youville. Honorees have improved the quality of life of others through service to D’Youville, family, church, community, and national or international endeavors.

Carolynn Welch is the Executive Director of WEDi (the Westminster Economic Development Initiative).

WEDI was founded in 2006 by members of the Westminster Presbyterian Church to improve the quality of life for underserved residents of Buffalo’s West Side, which was increasingly populated by immigrants and refugees from Southeast Asia and the Middle East. The organization’s initial Education programming supported elementary-aged children to achieve literacy. This focus area eventually expanded to include grades 1-11 with additional programming focused on soft skills/social-emotional intelligence, enrichment activities, STEM, financial literacy, college preparation, and workforce/career development. In 2012, WEDI added a second focus area, Economic Development, to support underserved entrepreneurs to launch and sustain small businesses. In doing so, WEDI expanded its geographical reach to Buffalo’s East Side, which has a predominantly Black population. Today, WEDI runs six programs including the West Side Bazaar, a small business incubator offering delicious food and unique products from a diverse group of cultures and ethnicities. This stands in line with the mission of Saint Marguerite D'Youville. Having an alumna as Executive Director means the mission of St. Marguerite is an integral part of all the work Carolynn accomplishes at WEDi.

Carolynn Welch was born and raised in Buffalo and has enjoyed watching it become an even better place to live over the years. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from D’Youville University. Carolynn has worked at WEDI since 2017 and was appointed executive director in 2019. Prior to WEDI, she worked at various nonprofits for 20+ years in areas including program management, development, compliance, and administration. In her free time she enjoys reading. She lives in Hamburg with her three children.

In regards to WEDI’s Mission, Carolynn notes, “I love seeing the direct impact of our work through the smiles on students’ faces, the success of small business owners, and the satisfaction of both when they achieve their dreams. By working as a partner with our clients we see the best results and can meet people where they are to achieve success.”

This is an exciitng time for WEDi and Carolynn as the West Side Bazaar has settled on a new home at 1432 Niagara Street. The building will not only provide the Bazaar with ample room to expand its offerings, it will join myriad other business enterprises opening on the street. Carolynn says, “We hope the new Bazaar will help spur more development on Niagara Street. Moreover, it will continue to give low-income and refugee entrepreneurs the opportunity to own and operate a business in our City.” 

Her work is remarkable and her commitment to mission and community is admirable. She would be a wonderful honoree for the Delta Sigma award. Read more about Carolynn here:

Carolynn is a legacy as her mother also attended D'Youville. Mary (Eder) Hurley, Ph.D. '03 is a Physician Assistant major. 

Young Alumni Award | Habiba Mohamed '16


The Alumni Association established the Young Alumni Award to recognize alumni who have graduated within the past 10 years, have distinguished themselves among their peers and have potential for continued success in their chosen profession. In addition, nominees must be actively engaged in community service or service to D’Youville. 

Habiba Mohamed is a remarkable alumna and kind human. She would be a fantastic young alumni award winner!

Habiba Mohamed stayed in Buffalo after graduating from D’Youville in 2016. As an undergraduate, she was involved on campus through Upward Bound, the Sociology Club, Muslim Student Union, and the Admissions Office. Off campus, she was an intern at Journey’s End Immigration and at Congressman Brian Higgins Office. After graduation, she continued to work at Journey’s End Immigration and this past fall, she started working for U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. One of Habiba's fondest memories of D'Youville was working in the Admissions Office. She said “it was a family within the larger D’Youville family.” She really enjoyed giving campus tours to prospective students and meeting everyone across campus. The freshmen mentor program also had such a positive impact on her that she keeps in touch with her mentor. It is evident that Habiba has continued to serve others in her professional career. At Senator Gillibrand’s Western New York Regional Office she travels across the region and even back to D’Youville where she has recruited interns for this Spring semester. She constantly asks herself, “what can I do to help?” With her hopes to go to law school and eventually work in advocacy, D’Youville is proud to have her as a member of our alumni family.

Her career history is as follows:

Federal Affairs Manager Federal Affairs Manager

Pay Our Interns
2021 - Present

CPC Aide
Congressional Progressive Caucus
2019 - 2021

WNY Regional Assistant
Office of U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
2017 - 2019

Journey's End Refugee Services, Inc. 
Match Grant Specialist

Journey's End Refugee Services, Inc.
Refugee School Impact Program Assistant
2016 - 2017

Senior Page
Buffalo and Erie County Public Library
2012 - 2017 

D’Youville is a nationally-ranked private university headquartered in Buffalo, New York, providing in-seat and online academic programs around the world. Founded in 1908, D’Youville offers undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees focused on healthcare, liberal arts and business. D’Youville’s small class sizes, experiential education, and interprofessional learning environments prepare students for success. For more information, visit

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