Cropp, Jeswald and Wall to be Honored At Canisius College Annual Business Awards Dinner

September 24, 2015


BUFFALO, NYMichael W. Cropp, MD, president and chief executive officer of Independent Health, will receive the Business Executive of the Year Award at the annual Canisius College Business Awards Dinner on Tuesday, October 13 at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens. Cocktails begin at 5:30 p.m.; dinner is at 6:30 p.m.; the awards presentation will follow and include the presentation of the Dr. Bernard L. Martin Award to Ralph M. Jeswald MBA ’91, CPA, partner, Dopkins & Company; and the Dr. Richard A. Shick Award to Richard A. Wall ’78, PhD, professor of economics and finance at Canisius College. The Business Awards Dinner is co-sponsored by the Business Advisory Council to the Richard J. Wehle School of Business.

Established in 1969, the Business Executive of the Year Award honors an outstanding Western New York business executive who has achieved professional success and demonstrated a broad interest in civic affairs. The Richard J. Wehle School of Business at Canisius College presents the award annually at the Business Awards Dinner.

Since Michael Cropp took the helm as president and CEO in 2004, Independent Health has led the advancement of the health insurance industry. Above and beyond providing standard medical coverage, the company has introduced innovative and progressive programs to promote healthy habits aimed at preventing illness – with the added benefit of reducing healthcare costs.

Cropp is a founding chair and on the board of directors of HEATHeLINK, a system that enables healthcare providers, with patient consent, to share access to medical records, significantly improving quality of care. He is also the founding chair of the P2 Collaborative of Western New York, which provides critical support to help healthcare organizations raise the standard of care.

Cropp earned a bachelor’s and medical degree from Brown University and an MBA from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Ralph M. Jeswald MBA ’91, CPA, will also be recognized at the annual Business Awards Dinner. The Canisius alumnus will receive the Bernard L. Martin Award. Established in 1976 by the Board of Directors of the Canisius College Masters Alumni Association (MBAA), the award recognizes a distinguished graduate of the college’s graduate business programs – someone who has excelled professionally and also provided significant service to the community.

When the Town of Amherst faced a $4 million budget deficit in 2006, officials convened a panel of five experts to review the town budget and create a plan to get back on the right track. Jeswald, then a director of Dopkins & Company LLC, was among those appointed. He had already established himself as an expert in both economy and efficiency. Two years earlier as a consultant to HSBC Bank, Jeswald won the Best Defect Elimination in Service and Transaction Award at a Six Sigma conference sponsored by the International Quality and Productivity Center.

Jeswald is currently partner at Dopkins & Company, where he concentrates on the firm’s Health Care Practice Group. The group serves health and human service not-for-profit agencies and medical practices, providing a range of services including practice management and compliance consulting. In the community, Jeswald has served on the Canisius College Council on Accountancy, the advisory board of the University at Buffalo Management Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, and the advisory board of Fredonia State College.

Jeswald holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Fredonia College and an MBA in accounting from Canisius College.

Richard A. Wall ’78, PhD, will be honored with the Dr. Richard A. Shick Award during the evening. This award was created in 2001 in honor of Dr. Richard A. Shick who faithfully served as dean of the Richard J. Wehle School of Business from 1979 to 2002.  The award is given to a deserving individual who has made important contributions to the success of the business school and Canisius College.

Wall joined the faculty of the School of Business in 1980 and successfully worked his way through the ranks to become the M&T Distinguished Professor of Economics and Finance at Canisius.  His numerous publications and honors attest to the integrity of his research and his skill in teaching.  Wall received the Alumni Association’s Kenneth L. Koessler Distinguished Faculty Award in 1991, and he has twice received the Donald E. Calvert Outstanding Professor Award from the college’s MBA students.  Wall was also named Professor of the Year by the business school’s undergraduate students.  This past year, he played a key role as the faculty advisor to the CFA Research Challenge student team, which won the world competition, making Canisius one of only two American universities to win this competition.

In 1997, Wall was asked to serve as the college’s interim vice president for student affairs.  Then in 2011, he was asked to be the interim vice president for academic affairs for two years, after which the interim title was removed. Wall just completed two years as vice president for academic affairs.   In all these roles, Wall provided outstanding leadership, invaluable advice, and dedicated service at very critical times in the life of the college.

Wall holds a PhD and master’s degree in economics from the State University of New York at Buffalo and bachelor’s degrees in business economics, mathematics and statistics and physics from Canisius College.

For more information on the Business Awards Dinner, contact the Richard J. Wehle School of Business at (716) 888-2160.

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