Buffalo State Honors Two with Distinguished Alumnus Award
Buffalo State College will proudly honor two of its most distinguished and dedicated alumnae—community leader Linda A. Dobmeier, ’71, and educator and author Barbara Seals Nevergold, ’66—with the Distinguished Alumnus Award during this year’s Commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 15.
Linda Dobmeier exemplifies professional accomplishment, community service, and support for Buffalo State College. After earning her B.S. in elementary education at Buffalo State, she spent 11 years teaching second grade at the William Kaegebein School on Grand Island. She continued her education during that time, and received a master’s in education from the University at Buffalo and a master’s in business administration from Canisius College.
In 1982, she left her teaching duties to assist in managing her family-owned business, Dobmeier Janitor Supply Inc. The locally owned company employs more than 40 people. Dobmeier has worked to build the company while maintaining its high standards for quality, integrity, and customer service.
Dobmeier joined the Buffalo State College Foundation Board of Directors, where she has served as a member of the board, a member of the Executive Committee, and chair of the Nominating Committee. She was elected chair of the foundation in 2007. Under her leadership, the foundation raised a record $8 million in fiscal year 2007–2008. During the economic downturn in 2008, the foundation was able to maintain all student scholarships, and to take a lead role in the new student housing project. Her leadership and stability have been vital in the foundation’s support of the college during its presidential transition year.
In addition to being an ardent and enthusiastic ambassador for the college, Dobmeier is a persuasive advocate for the All College Honors Program and the Burchfield Penney Art Center at Buffalo State, which she has served as a member of its Board of Trustees. She is a member of the Peterson Society, the college honor society for supporters who have made a planned gift to the college. In addition to her many other roles on campus, she has actively supported the Foundation Scholarship Galas for 2007 through 2010, and served as chair of the foundation’s annual Golf and Tennis Scholarship Classic.
Dobmeier has been active in the community as a member of a number of boards over the years, including the Roswell Park Cancer Institute Board of Directors, the Canisius College Board of Trustees, the Amherst Police Foundation Board, the Niagara Lutheran Health Foundation Board of Trustees, and the Brothers of Mercy Campus Foundation.
Dobmeier and Dobmeier Janitor Supply have been generous and consistent financial contributors to Buffalo State College and the Burchfield Penney Art Center for many years.
She will receive the award during the 10:00 a.m. baccalaureate ceremony.
Barbara Seals Nevergold is an educator, counselor, administrator, and, since 1999, co-founder of the Uncrowned Queens Institute for Research and Education on Women Inc. Nevergold and Uncrowned Queens co-founder Dr. Peggy Brooks-Bertram compiled and edited Go, Tell Michelle: African American Women Write to the New First Lady, a collection of letters and poems offering messages of hope and advice to Michelle Obama after her husband won the 2008 presidential election.
Nevergold graduated from Buffalo State with a B.A. in French secondary education. She earned master’s of education degrees in counseling and French education at the University at Buffalo and, in 1986, earned a Ph.D. in counseling education, also from UB. She also studied French at Laval University in Quebec, and at the University of Dijon in France.
She started her career as a French teacher in the Buffalo Public Schools, where she also served as a guidance counselor. She has been a vocal advocate for parental involvement in the public schools. She went on to hold major positions at several human service agencies, including executive director of the Niagara Frontier Association for Sickle Cell Disease, vice president for children’s services at Friendship House of Western New York, CEO of Planned Parenthood of Buffalo and Erie County, and director of student support services at the University at Buffalo’s Educational Opportunity Center.
She has served on the boards of directors of several local organizations, including the Graycliff Conservancy, the Buffalo Psychiatric Center, Sheehan Memorial Hospital, and the Afro-American Historical Association of the Niagara Frontier Inc. Her success has been recognized with many awards, including the Governor’s Women of Excellence Award in Education for Go, Tell Michelle. The book also won the Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Book Award in 2009, presented by the Association of Black Women Historians. Additional awards include the WNY Women’s Hall of Fame, the Keeper of the Flame Award from the National Women’s Hall of Fame, the Community Life Award from the Buffalo Urban League, the State of New York Dr. Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award, and the Justice Award from the Bar Association of Erie County.
Nevergold has long been a financial supporter of Buffalo State. With her brothers and sister, she established the Seals Family Memorial Endowed Scholarship in memory of their mother, Mrs. Clara Ellis Seals; their father, the Reverend Willie B. Seals; and their brother, Kenneth Seals, M.D. She has also memorialized her parents by planting two trees in their honor in Buffalo State’s Maud Gordon Holmes Arboretum.
Nevergold will receive the award at the 2:00 p.m. baccalaureate ceremony.