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Welcome Home: Buffalo State Opens News LoRusso Alumni and Visitor Center

Buffalo State College unveiled a major addition to its campus this summer with the opening of the Jacqueline Vito LoRusso Alumni and Visitor Center at the corner of Rockwell Road and Grant Street. 

The 10,800-square-foot two-story structure serves as a grand new gathering place for alumni as well as an information center and rendezvous point for prospective students, their families, and other campus visitors. 

NEW HOME OF ALUMNI ENGAGEMENT OFFICE 

On the first floor of the center, a spacious reception area serves as a comfortable place to meet before an event and to find visitor information. The floor also features a large multiuse hall with seating for up to 150 people. 

The first floor is the new home of the Alumni Engagement Office and Buffalo State Alumni Association, which have relocated from Cleveland Hall. The center is an essential part of the Alumni Association’s strategy to connect with the college’s 100,000 alumni and to expand its programs and services to reach current students. 

The exterior of the building features an outdoor patio, landscaped areas, and reserved parking. 

The center was designed by HOLT Architects of Ithaca, New York, and built by Javen Construction Company Inc. of Penfield, New York. 

BUILT WITH PRIVATE AND PUBLIC FUNDS 

A combination of private donations and state grants funded the $6.9 million project. 

The center is named in honor of Jacqueline Vito LoRusso, ’62, ’64, who provided a lead gift of $1 million. The center’s multiuse hall is dedicated as the Helen Wernejowski Costello and Salvatore J. Costello Hall in recognition of a $500,000 gift from Helen Wernejowski Costello, ’50. 

Additional major gifts were contributed by Howard and Leslie Zemsky and family (the Zemsky Family Presentation Room); Karen, ’69, and Richard Penfold (Penfold Patio); Robert J. Lamendola, ’72 (Lamendola Welcome Lounge); Michael, ’79, and Madonna, ’80, Bonitatibus; Gerald, ’90, and Michelle, ’91, Cornish; Paul, ’82, and Martha, ’84, ’90, Lamparelli; and the Buffalo State College Foundation Board. 

“Visitors will be introduced to our proud history,” LoRusso said. “This house tells the Buffalo State College story. This house will be, for me—as the school song goes—‘my finest hour.’” 

LoRusso, owner of JVL Management Company, has twice served on the Buffalo State College Foundation Board of Directors and is a longtime donor to the college. She earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in elementary education from Buffalo State. 

“Jackie has been with us since we began discussing the many ways such a center could benefit the campus and our alumni base,” said Susanne Bair, who spearheaded the project before retiring in February from her position as Buffalo State’s vice president for institutional advancement. “May this center always be a symbol of the lifelong relationships forged on this campus and the commitment to continue engagement between our alumni, students, faculty, and staff.” 

Costello, who earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education and reading from Buffalo State, taught for 35 years with the Buffalo Board of Education before retiring in 1985. She and her husband, Salvatore J. “Sam” Costello, moved to Florida in 1995. He died in 2004. 

With her gift, Costello honors not only her husband and former students but also the memory of her parents, whom she credits with giving her everything she needed to be successful in life. 

WELCOMING VISITORS FROM NEAR AND FAR 

Buffalo State is a public institution dedicated to serving its students as well as the public at large. As the “people’s college,” Buffalo State welcomes about a half million visitors on campus each year for academic conferences, cultural activities, sporting events, and more. 

The Jacqueline Vito LoRusso Alumni and Visitor Center now serves as a much-needed formal visitor center that further strengthens the college’s presence in the community. 

ONCE A BENGAL, ALWAYS A BENGAL! 

As the Alumni Engagement Office and Buffalo State Alumni Association open their new offices in the Jacqueline Vito LoRusso Alumni and Visitor Center, it’s a great time for alumni to renew connections with the college. 

A good first step is to register online for an Alumni ID card at alumni.buffalostate.edu/pages/ resources/request-your-alumni-id-card. 

The Alumni ID card allows you to log in to the online alumni directory—a network of 100,000 alumni worldwide. It also provides access to a wide variety of benefits and services on and off campus, including these:

• Social events

• Networking events

• Athletic events

• Buffalo State reduced rate parking permit

• Buffalo State Fitness Center reduced rate membership

• Auditing classes

• Career Development Center services

• Campus House reduced rate membership

• Continuing Professional Studies discount on non-credit courses

• Casting Hall reduced rate tickets

• E. H. Butler Library alumni rate for borrowing privileges

• Small Business Development Center business assistance 

• Discounted insurance program