Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently appointed Bonita Durand, chief of staff to Buffalo State President Aaron Podolefsky and secretary to the Buffalo State College Council, to the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA) Commission. Durand began her two-year appointment June 14 following confirmation by the New York Senate.
"I feel honored," Durand said. "It's a big responsibility to the community."
A longtime resident of the city, Durand said she understands that public transportation is the only option many residents have for reaching a job or healthcare provider. Numerous Buffalo State students, too, rely on the network of buses and trains that NFTA offers.
"I think I have good perspectives to bring to the table," said Durand, who added that she personally wants to take the bus and train to work when possible to get a first-person view of the rider experience.
The NFTA position follows a long line of community roles Durand has been offered or has volunteered to take since she moved to Buffalo in 1990. Recently, she has participated in the Buffalo Complete Count Census Committee, the Buffalo Niagara Economic Development Corporation Board of Directors, the Buffalo Citizens’ Advisory Commission on Reapportionment in 2011, and the Western New York Women’s Fund Board of Directors. She also is a lifetime member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., an international public-service organization, in which she has held numerous offices at the local and regional levels.
Durand holds both a master’s of science in applied public affairs and a doctorate in higher education administration from the University at Buffalo. In 2010, she received certification in educational management and leadership from the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University. Prior to earning her master’s degree at UB, Durand received a bachelor’s degree in business administration and curriculum development from the Union Institute in Cincinnati, Ohio.
She joined the President’s Office in 1996. In addition to her chief of staff duties, Durand teaches graduate-level courses in Buffalo State’s Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration Department.