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A Message from President Howard about the Tragedy of Flight 3407

Posted: February 19, 2009

We are deeply saddened by the terrible tragedy of last Thursday's horrific plane crash and the loss of those involved. As a campus, we mourn the deaths of several alums and colleagues, including Beverly Eckert, Alison Des Forges, Ronald Gonzalez, Kevin Johnston, Jerome Krasuski, Brian Kuklewicz, and Madeline "Maddy" Loftus.

Beverly Eckert, a 1975 graduate of Buffalo State College, was the widow of Sean Rooney, who died in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Eckert was en route to Buffalo to take part in the presentation of the Sean Rooney Memorial Scholarship ceremony at Canisius High School. Eckert was the sister-in-law of Brendan Rooney, director of administrative computing in our Computing and Technology was a friend, colleague, and neighbor to many of us. In 2005, we were honored to have her give the Baccalaureate Commencement Address.

Ronald Gonzalez, a 2002 graduate with a bachelor of arts in journalism, was the former executive director of Alianza Latina, a community-based organization dedicated to HIV/AIDS education and prevention in Erie County.

Kevin Johnston, who graduated in 2000 with a master of science degree in multidisciplinary studies, was director of health, safety, and environment at Henkel Corporation, Buffalo, and a former president of the Western New York section of the American Industrial Hygiene Association.

Jerome Krasuski, a 1989 graduate with a bachelor of science in industrial technology, died with three colleagues from Northrop Grumman as they returned home from a business trip.

Brian Kuklewicz, husband of literacy specialist candidate Karen Kuklewicz ('05), earned a bachelor of science in industrial technology from Buffalo State in 1992. He was an engineer with BurnsCascade in Depew, New York.

Madeline "Maddy" Loftus was a cherished member of the Bengals women's hockey program from 2002 to 2004. She was traveling to Buffalo to participate in Saturday's women's hockey reunion at the Sports Arena.

We extend our deepest condolences to all the families, friends, and alumni affected by this tragedy.
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