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Grand Island Foundation

Grand Island Foundation Web Page

P.O. Box 1183, Grand Island, NY 14072


Board of Directors

Maura Rustowicz, President
Nancy Major, Vice President
Tracey Kozlowski, Treasurer
Susan Campbell, Secretary

Trustees - Lee Cohen, Denise Dunbar, Fran Seaman







Distinguished Alumni Award Committee Seeks Nominations - April 2017

    In 2007 The Grand Island Foundation began the Distinguished Alumni of Grand Island High School. Since that time, several notable alumni have been inducted and placed on the wall in the high school. Do you know an accomplished or distinguished alumnus from Grand Island High School? The Distinguished Alumni Committee is seeking nominations for its Distinguished Alumni Award . This award will be presented in the spring of 2018. Recipients will be asked to give a brief presentation to the student body.
   Criteria for nominating includes the following:
  • Graduated from Grand Island Senior High School
  • Outstanding in his or her professionl
  • Excellence in his or her chosen fieldl
  • Outstanding service to community, profession, or causel
    See Distinguished Alumni Awards - Nomination Form













    Distinguished Alumni Award Committee Seeks Nominations - January 2014

        Do you know an accomplished or distinguished alumnus from Grand Island High School? The Distinguished Alumni Committee is seeking nominations for its Distinguished Alumni Award winner. This award will be presented in the spring of 2014. If you know someone whom you believe deserves this honor, please complete the form and send it to the address at the bottom of the form, or e-mail it to: macorust@roadrunner.com. Only candidates who attended Grand Island High School ten or more years ago are eligible for this award.
    See Distinguished Alumni Awards - Nomination Form




    Distinguished Alumni Award Committee Seeks Nominations - 2013

        Do you know an accomplished or distinguished alumnus from Grand Island High School? The Distinguished Alumni Committee is seeking nominations for its Distinguished Alumni Award winner. This award will be presented in the spring of 2014. If you know someone whom you believe deserves this honor, please complete the form and send it to the address at the bottom of the form, or e-mail it to: macorust@roadrunner.com. Only candidates who attended Grand Island High School ten or more years ago are eligible for this award.
    See Distinguished Alumni Awards - Nomination Form 2013


    GI Foundation Looking For Donations - November 2012

       The Grand Island Foundation (For Education) has supplied enrichment materials to the Grand Island schools for more than ten years. Donations to the Foundation from community members as well as faculty and administrators have made possible grants to teachers for supplies that help enrich the curriculum at all five schools. Past donations have included the purchase of leveled books, photographic equipment, microphones, technology equipment for an advanced class in robotics and supplies for the "Post Prom Party" held each year. See flyer for more details and a form to donate.


    Distinguished Alumni To Be Honored - April 2012


    Left: Suzanne Tomkins, right Dr. Elizabeth Robinson Judson

       In 2006, The Grand Island Foundation (for Education) established a committee to honor Grand Island High School alumni who have distinguished themselves through professional achievement and/or contributions to society. A spring assembly is held each year at the high school where the award recipients return and speak to the student body about their experiences. The sixth annual awards assembly will be held on April 27, 2012. Following are this year's honorees.
    Suzanne Tomkins
       Suzanne Tomkins is a clinical professor of law and Director of the Women, Children, and Social Justice Clinic at the State University of New York at Buffalo School of Law. In addition, she is Co-Director of the UB Law Program for Excellence in Family Law. After graduating from Grand Island High School in 1973, she earned a B.A. from Buffalo State College. In 1992, she completed requirements for her Juris Doctor degree from the SUNY at Buffalo School of Law. Ms. Tomkins has served on numerous boards and committees dedicated to family law and domestic violence both locally and statewide. These include the Statewide Integrated Domestic Violence Court Advisory Board, the New York State Office of Court Administration Family Court Advisory Committee, Gay and Lesbian Youth Services of WNY, the YWCA of Niagara, the Erie County Family Justice Center, Women’s Action for New Directions, the WNY Peace Center and the Women’s Law Center. Internationally, she has been a domestic violence consultant in Ukraine and Russia for Project Harmony, a program of the US Department of State, and she recently conducted a series of presentations in Brazil. She is also a consultant for the American Bar Association’s Rule of Law Project. Ms. Tomkins is a biking enthusiast, and in 2005, she raised funds for Carolyn’s House, a residence for homeless women and children, by riding her bike across the country. She is the mother of two daughters, Emily and Allison Dinsmore, and with her family and John Study, she resides on Grand Island.
    Dr. Elizabeth Ann “Beth” Robinson Judson
       Dr. Elizabeth Ann “Beth” Robinson Judson was a Ceramic Engineer with ten years of industrial experience with businesses in the Atlanta area. She graduated from Grand Island High School in 1977 and then earned her B.S. degree in Ceramic Science and a B.A. degree in Mathematics, magna cum laude, from Alfred University. After staying home with her two young children in Roswell, Georgia, “Beth” returned to school at Georgia Institute of Technology and received her M.S. degree in Ceramic Engineering and Materials Science in 1991. Subsequently, she earned a PhD in the same disciplines in 1999. With her industrial and engineering expertise, she was originally employed by Alcoa in Pittsburgh, and later she was a general manager of a ceramic armor start-up company associated with Georgia Tech. She was a consultant to the University-Industry Demonstration Partnership of the National Academies. As a board member of the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology, she traveled to universities to review engineering departments for continuing accreditation. She served on advisory boards at both Georgia Tech and Clemson University. Dr. Judson was an active participant and trustee in the Southern Catholic College. Among her many activities, she sang in her church choir, was an executive director for the Georgia Regional Girls’ Choir for several years, skied, golfed, and enjoyed cooking. Dr. Judson had established a ten-year scholarship at Grand Island High School to give back monies she earned as scholarships while at Alfred University. Sadly, Dr. Judson and her husband, Jim, were killed on October 26, 2010 when their small, private plane crashed in Mississippi. A loving mother and wife, she is survived by a son, Dean, and a daughter, Lauren, her mother Barbara, and her four brothers, Mitch, Scott, Chris and Ken, all Grand Island High School graduates.


    The Grand Island Foundation (for Education)
    Distinguished Alumni Committee Seeks Volunteers - June 2011

    The Grand Island Foundation (for Education) is seeking additional volunteers to join their Distinguished Alumni Committee. If you have an interest in helping to honor Grand Island High School alumni that have distinguished themselves through professional achievement and/or contributions to society, please contact Maura Rustowicz at 773-1335 (email macorust@gmail.com) or call Sally Goris at 773-1449 (e-mail sgoris@verizon.net).


    Distinguished Alumni Honored - April 2011

    Russell A. Certo
       Russell A. Certo owns and administers his local physical therapy practice and operates the M.O.G. His decision to develop this medically oriented gym (M.O.G.) was prompted by the need he saw in the community for evidenced based fitness services coupled with appropriate physical therapy. After graduating from Grand Island High School in 1978 and earning a degree from Quinnipiac University in 1982, Mr. Certo worked as a staff therapist in hospitals, including the University of North Carolina Hospital and Duke University Hospital. In 1988, Mr. Certo opened his own practice, Grand Island Physical Therapy. In the following years, the need for physical therapy and fitness services had expanded significantly, and Mr. Certo began to develop the idea of a medically oriented gym. He partnered his own physical therapy business with the M.O.G. group, a co-op of M.O.G. sites owned by independent physical therapy practices. The site opened in 2008 on Grand Island Boulevard. Mr. Certo lectures nationally about physical therapy and fitness practices and is a committed promoter of the M.O.G. concept. He is an active member of St. Stephen Church, the Rotary Club and has coached numerous soccer teams. In 1998, Mr. Certo was inducted into the Quinnipiac University Hockey Hall of Fame. Mr. Certo, who lives on Grand Island with his family, is a member of both the American Physical Therapy Association and the Medical Fitness Association.
    James T. Klock
       James T. Klock has had a distinguished career in the United States Secret Service. He participated in the Secret Service’s Explosive Detection and Ordnance training, and he graduated with top honors from this center as a bomb technician. Mr. Klock has served five Presidential administrations. As a bomb technician, Mr. Klock formerly had a K9 partner named Sydney, and together they were responsible for conducting sweeps of the venues where the President of the United States was scheduled to appear. Jim and his highly trained dog were en route to the Pentagon on 9/11 where they were to make a sweep of the helipad on which President Bush was going to land that morning. Mr. Klock saw the approach of the doomed American Airlines Flight 77 and was urgently dispatched to the White House. For his decisive action, Mr. Klock received an Award for Distinguished Service from President Bush. Mr. Klock is a 1979 graduate of Grand Island High School and began his training at centers for law enforcement and the Secret Service in 1989. Jim has volunteered with youth sports for twenty years and has donated his time to the State of Maryland’s Special Olympics. He has also served as president of Dulles Little League in Loudoun County, VA. Mr. Klock lives in Ashburn, VA with his wife and two children.




    Distinguished Alumni Committee Seeks Volunteers - April 2011

       In 2006, The Grand Island Foundation (for Education) established a committee to honor Grand Island High School alumni who have distinguished themselves through professional achievement and/or contributions to society. A spring assembly is held each year at the high school where the award recipients return and speak to the student body about their experiences. The fifth annual awards assembly was held on March 25, 2011.
       The recipients provide a role model for current high school students, and concurrently promote school spirit and pride in the school.
       The Committee is seeking additional volunteers to join them in this worthwhile endeavor. If you are interested in sitting on this committee or would like more information, call Sally Goris at 773-1449 or e-mail at sgoris@verizon.net.





    Distinguished Alumni Award Committee Seeks Nominations - 2010


       DO YOU KNOW AN ACCOMPLISHED OR DISTINGUISHED ALUMNUS FROM GRAND ISLAND HIGH SCHOOL? The Distinguished Alumni Committee is seeking nominations for its Distinguished Alumni Award winner. This award will be presented in the spring of 2011. If you know someone whom you believe deserves this honor, please complete the form and send it to the address at the bottom of the form, or e-mail it to:
    macorust@roadrunner.com. Only candidates who attended Grand Island High School ten or more years ago are eligible for this award.
    See Distinguished Alumni Awards - Nomination Form 2011

    Distinguished Alumni Honored - March 2010


    Committee & Alumni - From left: Jacqueline Royal, Joanne Kud, Rossano Galante, Dale Brown, Maura Rustowicz, Jean Harper and Sally Goris
    Jodi Robinson Photo - Click photo for larger view

       The Grand Island Foundation presented their 4th Annual Distinguished Alumni Awards Ceremony on Friday, March 26, 2010. This year's honorees were Dale Brown - Class of 1974 and Rossano Galante - Class of 1985.
       Dale Brown is a prolific author of military-action-aviation thrillers. His first novel, Flight of the Old Dog, was published in 1987. Since then, he has written thirteen New York Times bestsellers, including Silver Tower, Sky Masters, Chains of Command and Storming Heaven. His novels have been published in over eleven languages and distributed to over seventy countries. Mr. Brown was born in Buffalo, graduated from GIHS in 1974 and earned his Bachelor's Degree from Penn State University. He was commissioned in the United States Air Force in 1978 and was a navigator-bombardier. He earned the rank of Captain in the Air Force and received numerous military decorations and awards including the Air Force Commendation Medal. Currently, Mr. Brown pilots his own planes and volunteers for the non-profit charitable medical transportation organization called Air-LifeLine. He also is a supporter of various organizations, which promote law enforcement and reading. He is a member of the Writer's Guild and presently lives in Nevada with his family. Mr. Brown gave a power point presentation during the assembly showing the different aircraft he has flown with in his career and sharing a very exciting "war story" from the cold war days. He thanked his mom Lois Brown and sister Nancy - class of '77 who were in attendance.
       Rossano Galante has an accomplished career in film composition and orchestration. He has orchestrated music for numerous films and television programs including The Little Mermaid, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Live Free or Die Hard, Tuesdays with Morrie and Scary Movie 2. He has been commissioned to write musical scores by numerous organizations and schools both nationally and internationally. Included in his compositions are "Transcendent Journey," "Resplendent Glory," "Crosslands," and "The Bridge." The GI Middle School Band directed by Clarke Elliot, who also directed Mr. Galante in middle school, premiered "The Bridge." Mr. Galante graduated from GIHS in 1985 and from the University of Buffalo in 1992 with a degree in trumpet performance. He then was accepted to the University of Southern California's Film Scoring Program. In 2007, Mr. Galante was nominated for best score and the Jerry Goldsmith Spirit Awards in Ubeda, Spain. He currently lives in California and has publishing contracts with DeHaske/Durnow, G. Schirmer and Alfred Music. After thanking his Grand Island band teachers Mr. Ripley (Kaegebein), Mr. Elliot(middle school) and Mr. Lyke (high school) who were all in attendance, Mr. Galante conducted the GIHS Wind Ensemble in his composition of "Resplendent Glory".