Canisius Accounting Society Banquet to be held April 24

Gary Crosby ’75, president and chief executive officer of First Niagara Financial Group, will be honored as the Outstanding Accountant in Western New York at the 58th annual Canisius College Accounting Society Banquet on Thursday, April 24 at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens. Cocktails are at 5:30 p.m., dinner will be served at 6:30 p.m.

The Canisius College Accounting Society will also recognize Albert E. Gress ’85, CPA, during the organization’s annual dinner. Gress will receive the Dr. Joseph R. Coppola ’40 Award, which recognizes the exceptional achievements of a Canisius College accounting alumnus.

Fayezul (Fayez) Choudhury, chief executive officer of the International Federation of Accountants, will serve as keynote speaker.

In 2013, Crosby was named president and chief executive officer of First Niagara Financial Group, one of the nation’s top 25 banks as measured by assets and market capitalization. It has 6,000 employees – including about 2,200 in Western New York, $38 billion in assets and 420 branches in four states. Crosby previously served as First Niagara’s executive vice president and chief administrative operating officer.

Prior to First Niagara, Crosby served as chief financial officer and chief operating officer of the Buffalo Public School District. In 2008, the district was named one of the top three big-city school districts in the country for financial management after being identified in 2000 as one of the worst. From 1991-1999, Crosby was a founding stockholder and chief financial and operating officer of ClientLogic Corporation, a start-up company that grew from three to 3,000 people before its sale. Prior to this, he held senior financial leadership positions in banking and manufacturing.

Crosby is an active community and civic volunteer. He is a board member of the Buffalo Public School Foundation, Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology and Buffalo Niagara Enterprise. He is also trustee emeritus of the YMCA of Buffalo Niagara.

A 1985 graduate of Canisius College, Gress is vice president of business development for TransGlobe Energy, a Canadian-headquartered publicly traded petroleum company. He has more than two decades of direct petroleum upstream experience, mostly international, and has worked on three continents. Gress previously served as TransGlobe’s Cairo-based country manager, where he was instrumental to the firm’s growth and success in Egypt. Prior to TransGlobe, Gress led Egyptian operations for Madrid-based CEPSA’s upstream company and for U.S.-headquartered Devon energy. He was the financial general manager and board member appointed by the Apache Corporation in its initial Egyptian joint venture petroleum production company. The start-up venture grew to 40,000 barrels a day in oil production in a short two- year period.

Gress’ dedication to alma mater is steadfast. He and his wife, Noura, support the college through annual scholarship gifts to accounting students. They have also sponsored symposiums and other research by the college’s Animal Behavior, Ecology and Conservation Program. The 2012 Zoo Symposium, primarily sponsored by the Gress’ in memory of their departed pets, Simba and Sparky, brought international attention to Canisius.

Tickets for the event are limited. For more information, call the Canisius College Department of Accounting at (716) 888-2870.

Canisius College is one of 28 Jesuit universities in the nation and the premier private university in Western New York.