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Alumni Honored at Commencement

Alumni Honored at Commencement

Posted: May 13, 2015

Buffalo State will honor three of its most distinguished and dedicated alumni during its 143rd Commencement, Saturday, May 16, in the Sports Arena.

Distinguished Alumnus Awards will be granted to Roger Wood, '85, president and chief executive officer of Dana Holding Corporation; and Jacqueline LoRusso, owner of JVL Management Company. Rodneyse Bichotte, '95, assembly member and state committee woman/district leader for New York State’s 42nd District, will receive the Young Alumnus Achievement Award.

Distinguished Alumnus Awards


Roger J. Wood, Class of 1985

Roger Wood serves as president and chief executive officer of Dana Holding Corporation.

Wood will receive Buffalo State’s Distinguished Alumnus Award during the 10:00 a.m. baccalaureate ceremony.

Since joining Dana in April 2011, Wood has inspired Dana’s vision to be the global technology leader in efficient power conveyance and energy management solutions. In addition, he has implemented an operating model that encourages decision making by those in the organization closest to the customers, and he has delivered four consecutive years of improved profitability.

Prior to joining Dana, Wood served as executive vice president and group president for the Engine Group at BorgWarner. In his 26-year career at BorgWarner, he held various leadership roles with global operations responsibilities.

Wood holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering technology from Buffalo State and a master of business administration degree from Syracuse University. He is a member of both the Dana Holding Corporation and the Brunswick Corporation board of directors, and also serves as a member of the board for Business Leaders for Michigan and the Ohio Business Roundtable. In addition, Wood serves on the board of trustees for Manufacturers Alliance for Productivity and Innovation (MAPI) and as CEO Council for Original Equipment Suppliers Association (OESA).


Jacqueline V. LoRusso
, Class of 1962 and 1964

Jacqueline LoRusso earned her bachelor of science degree in elementary education in 1962 and her master of science degree in elementary education in 1964, both from Buffalo State. Upon graduation, she taught in the Maryvale School District and at Elmwood Franklin School.

LoRusso will receive Buffalo State’s Distinguished Alumnus Award during the 2:00 p.m. baccalaureate ceremony.

LoRusso, who owns JVL Management Company, a rental property management firm, has long been involved with alumni events at Buffalo State and has twice served as a member of the Buffalo State College Foundation Board of Directors, from 1993 to 1996 and from 2010 to the present.

She is a lead donor in the college’s Transforming Lives campaign. Her first major gift to the campaign endowed a scholarship fund for music students. In recognition of that gift, the recording studio in the new music complex in Rockwell Hall was officially named the Jacqueline V. LoRusso Control Room and Recording Studio. A second major gift has allowed the campus to move forward with the construction of an alumni house and visitors center that will be named in her honor.

Young Alumnus Achievement Award


Rodneyse Bichotte, Class of 1995

Rodneyse Bichotte is the assembly member and state committee woman/district leader for New York State’s 42nd District.

Bichotte will receive Buffalo State’s Young Alumnus Achievement Award and deliver the commencement address during the 10:00 a.m. baccalaureate ceremony.

Assemblywoman Bichotte is the first Haitian American woman from New York City to be elected to the New York State Assembly.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, she advocates affordable housing and home ownership, increased financial literacy for her communities, public safety initiatives, better relationships with law enforcement, affordable health care, high-quality public and private education, and economic development, especially for people seeking to open small businesses.

Before her election to public office, Assemblywoman Bichotte served as a public school math teacher and member of the teachers union, an engineer working overseas in Japan and China, and a finance manager. She has traveled all over the world, including to seven countries in Africa and several countries in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the Middle East. Her extensive global experience has helped her navigate various business customs, acquire key negotiation tactics, and build customer relations around the world.

Assemblywoman Bichotte earned an M.B.A. from Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management; an M.S. in electrical engineering from the Illinois Institute of Technology; a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University at Buffalo, and a B.S. in mathematics secondary education and a B.T. in electrical engineering from Buffalo State College. She is a graduate of the New York City public school system, including LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts.

Assemblywoman Bichotte has served on a number of boards, including as advocacy chair of Habitat for Humanity New York City; development chair of Turning Point Brooklyn; chair of the Economic Development Committee of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority’s Brooklyn Alumnae Chapter; scholarship chair of the Chicago Urban League Metropolitan Board; and a member of Brooklyn Community Board 17, the Sickle Cell Thalassemia Patients Network, and the National Black MBA Association. She teaches Sunday school at Cornerstone Baptist Church in the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. She is an alumna of the White House Project at Brooklyn College.

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