ECC Foundation to honor seven community and campus leaders at annual SUNY Erie Celebrates Event

The Erie Community College Foundation, Inc. is pleased to announce the return of SUNY Erie Celebrates (formerly ECC Celebrates), an event that honors awardees with the foundation’s Distinguished Alumni Award. The honorees have often triumphed over adversity or made lasting impacts on their community.

This year, the foundation will present three new Distinguished Alumni awardees for recognition, in addition to introducing four new awards to the ceremony: the Community Hero Award, Faculty Service Award, Staff Service Award, and two “Heart of SUNY Erie” student awards. The full slate of honorees are as follows:

Distinguished Alumni Award

  • Darian Bryan ’14, Celebrity Chef and Food Influencer; Owner, The Plating Society
  • Joseph Lundin ’97, Director of Academic & User Technology Services, SUNY Erie
  • Joseph Ruszala ’70, U.S. Army Veteran, Entrepreneur and Veterans Advocate

 Community Impact Award

  • Mayda Pozantides, co-founder, Groundwork Market Garden, Buffalo

Faculty Service Award

  • Humanities (Theatre) Professor Michelle Michael-Lippens, SUNY Erie

Staff Service Award

  • Lida Mosovich Ellsworth, Coordinator of Service Desk Services, SUNY Erie

Heart of SUNY Erie Student Award:

  • Jesse Adamu ’23, Computer Science major and SUNY Erie Katz Basketball team member, Buffalo
  • Dominique Prophet ’24, Occupational Therapy major, student advocate and mother, Buffalo

The event will take place Thursday, May 18 at 8:30 a.m. in The Admiral Room, 237 Main Street, Buffalo. Tickets are available for $60 at

Each year the honorees are chosen by a committee made up of students, foundation board and staff members, college employees and retirees.

SUNY Erie has been part of the Western New York Community for 77 years, offering students of all backgrounds and experiences a path toward a broader education and rewarding career. The Erie Community College Foundation was founded nearly 50 years ago to support students mainly though scholarships, fulfilling our core mission to aid and alleviate the financial burden of higher education.

Every SUNY Erie story is unique and every person we meet influences our lives, be it large or small. This awards ceremony showcases and celebrates those positive influences.

For additional information including sponsorship options, please contact the Foundation at 716-851-1990 or

The Erie Community College Foundation’s mission is to provide funding by way of scholarships, capital campaigns and workforce training partners to benefit SUNY Erie Community College’s students. Its goal is to assist as many students as possible, ensuring finances are never a barrier to education.