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New Officers, Members Named to College Foundation Board

New Officers, Members Named to College Foundation Board

Posted: September 16, 2019

The Buffalo State College Foundation has announced its new officers and members for the 2019–2020 academic year.

Michael Bonitatibus, ’79, who was named chairman of the foundation board last year, will continue in his role as chair for 2019–2020. Bonitatibus, who earned a bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Buffalo State, has owned Millington Lockwood Business Interiors for 17 years.



This year’s new vice chair is Nicholas A. Sinatra, founder of Sinatra & Company Real Estate. Sinatra previously worked in political affairs—for former New York Governor George Pataki and in the George W. Bush administration. A graduate of Yale University, he received an M.B.A. in real estate finance from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.


William H. Gurney, executive vice president of Courier Capital LLC, is the new board secretary. A longtime member of the foundation board who has served on its investment committee, Gurney worked for Bank of America and HSBC before joining Courier in 2003. Gurney studied finance and economics at St. Lawrence University and is an active board member of several area foundations.

Judy Elliott, ’82, CEO of EduLead LLC and former chief academic officer for the Los Angeles Unified School District, has been named board treasurer. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in learning and behavioral disorders from Buffalo State, Elliott earned multiple master’s degrees in education and school administration. She also holds a doctorate in educational psychology from the University at Buffalo. Buffalo State awarded her an honorary doctorate in 2010. She has served as foundation board secretary since 2013.


James M. Finnerty, Buffalo State’s vice president for institutional advancement, serves as the foundation’s executive director.

Six other individuals have been named to the foundation board this year:

Ronald Brown, the executive secretary at the Buffalo Sewer Authority and a part-time faculty member in Buffalo State’s Business Department. Originally from the Bronx, Brown attended Buffalo State through its Educational Opportunity Program (EOP), earned a bachelor’s degree from the University at Buffalo School of Management, and completed the certified public accounting (CPA) examination.



Nancy Cox, a partner with the Bonadio Group in the commercial division. Cox is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and serves as a member of the Frontier Central School District Audit Committee, the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, the Child and Family Services Ambassador Committee, and the Family Justice Center of Erie County Board of Directors. She earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting and business administration from Thiel College in Greenville, Pennsylvania.

Donald Jacobs, ’81, the founder and chief executive officer of PLS 3rd Learning, an organization that leverages technology to improve access to quality education for all children. He also founded the Center for Applied Technologies in Education at the University at Buffalo and helped develop signature educational projects in New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Costa Rica, Panama, and Turkey. After earning a bachelor’s degree in art education from Buffalo State, Jacobs received a master’s degree in instructional systems design and a doctorate in educational organization, administration, and policy from UB.

Laura O’Hara, senior vice president and general counsel with M&T Bank Corporation. Previously, O’Hara served as executive vice president and general counsel at Santander Bank and as executive vice president and general counsel for consumer and commercial banking for Royal Bank of Scotland, RBS Citizens. She holds a juris doctor from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Villanova University.


Ann Pentkowski, executive vice president and chief network and performance management officer at Independent Health. Employed by Independent Health since1997, Pentkowski most recently served as senior vice president for network and performance management. She earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and business from the College of Saint Rose and a master’s degree in business from the University of Phoenix.


Julianna Kraft, student representative. A Buffalo State junior and Muriel A. Howard Honors Program student majoring in hospitality and tourism with a minor in professional French, Kraft has earned a spot on the Dean’s List for three consecutive semesters. She has received two research grants from the Department of Undergraduate Research and is a member of Eta Sigma Delta, the Hospitality Department’s honor society.

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