Elected Officials, WNY Leaders Turn Out for Thomas Reynolds Center Event
Celebration honors the Center’s Namesake and Benefactor, former Western New York Representative and Current Daemen College Trustee Thomas M. Reynolds
June 24, 2013
Contact: Mike Andrei
Former Western New York Representative and current Daemen College Trustee Thomas M. Reynolds was joined by nearly one hundred friends, supporters, elected officials, and Western New York leaders to mark the tenth anniversary of the Thomas Reynolds Center for Special Education and After-School Programs at Daemen College.
Among those attending the event included former Representative Reynolds, Representative Chris Collins and his wife, Mary; former Representative Kathy Hochul; and representatives of New York Assembly Member Ray Walter and State Senator Michael Ranzenhofer.
The celebration honoring former Representative Reynolds was held June 21 in the Haberman Gacioch Center on the Daemen campus.
The Reynolds Center’s unique curriculum provides instruction for students at-risk for academic failure and students with learning disabilities in the areas of reading, writing, mathematics, and student empowerment. A key goal of the Center is teaching students skills toward becoming independent.
The Center’s namesake and benefactor, Reynolds stated this initiative has had a much different impact on the community and his family’s life than any other project he has done.
“Our youngest son has a learning disability. What I saw in his efforts was the desire to learn, to grow, and to move forward in his life. As we discovered, there are many, many other families that face these challenges, and there was a great need for specialized programs and educational resources to meet them.
“So with the assistance of former Daemen President Martin Anisman, and my chief of staff Sally Vastola, we were able to fund and bring about this Center, offering the type of specialized education that would make a difference in so many families’ lives.”
“The Reynolds Center is an unqualified success, having provided instruction improving the quality of life for more than 1300 special needs students over the last 10 years,” said Daemen President Gary A. Olson.
“We are proud to have this on the Daemen campus.”
The Reynolds Center has maintained a 10 year partnership with Amherst Central School District (Smallwood Elementary and Windermere Boulevard), and a five year partnership with Aloma D. Johnson Fruit Belt Community Charter School.
The Center also provides vital hands-on experience for teacher candidates working with students with disabilities. Highlights of the program include teacher preparation through a nationally-accredited Education Department; partial tuition scholarship; use of iPads, Apple TVs, and Smartboards throughout instruction; and providing opportunities for students in both urban and suburban settings.
For teacher candidates, additional benefits provided by the Center include professional development, opportunities to participate in research, as well as developing relationships with partner school personnel.
In addition, the Reynolds Center has received an invitation to apply for a prestigious Tower Planning Study Grant, an opportunity offered to select organizations working in the area of learning disabilities.
The Reynolds Center is a partner with the Center for Autism Support and Education (CASE), a collaboration among community organizations specializing in providing services to individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). CASE offers guidance, support, and resources for families, service providers, and individuals with ASD. CASE also provides a variety of specialized workshops to help families and professionals better understand ASD and the behaviors and characteristics associated with the disorder. The Center also collaborates with Parent Network of Western New York.
Also at the event, the contributions of former Daemen Associate Professor of Education Dr. Patrick Hartwick to the Daemen Education Department and the Reynolds Center were honored.
As Dean of the School of Education at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida, Hartwick had traveled to Haiti with a group of students to deliver assistance to the people of that country when he lost his life in a devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in January, 2010.
His tenure at Daemen, which began in 1993 and ended in 2005, was marked by considerable progress in the Education Department and heightened respect for the program in the community. A commemorative plaque was presented to members of Hartwick's family during the Reynolds Center event.
Thomas Reynolds, Lisa Waterrose, and Liz Wright