Leaders in their Fields Receive Distinguished Alumni Award

October 25, 2015


BUFFALO, NY - The Canisius Alumni Association presented six individuals with its Distinguished Alumni Award in September. The award recognizes graduates who are leaders in their fields and have made significant contributions to their chosen professions. This year’s Distinguished Alumni Award honorees are:


Edward Burke Carey ’69

President, Carey Reality Investments Inc.

Edward Burke Carey brings development projects to life as president and CEO of Carey Reality Investments, which provides investment advisory, brokerage and commercial real estate services to clients in major markets across the U.S.  

Carey started in the real estate business in Buffalo. He later joined the national development firm John Galbreath & Company, managing its national marketing program. Carey parlayed his real estate and investment acumen into his first entrepreneurial venture, Carey Realty. He has since worked with international corporations, Fortune 500 companies and municipal government organizations.


LeRoi C. Johnson ’71

Attorney, Law Office of LeRoi C. Johnson PLLC

A successful solo attorney, LeRoi C. Johnson concentrates his practice in the areas of personal injury, criminal and entertainment law. The latter is an area he came to know well while managing the career of his late brother and “king of funk punk” Rick James, as well as Billy D. Williams, Eddie Murphy and the Mary Jane Girls.

Johnson’s successful law practice also affords him the time to pursue his passion for painting. Though he is not formally trained, Johnson travels the world exhibiting his “electric primitive” oils and acrylics.

David J. Nasca ’79

President and Chief Executive Officer, Evans Bank

David J. Nasca has spent his career putting the “community” back in community banking. As president and CEO of Evans National, Nasca balances the bank’s increasing levels of profitability and growth while ensuring Evans remains an integral part of the community’s revitalization. While executive vice president for strategic initiatives with First Niagara, Nasca directed the financial group’s march across upstate by making personalized care part of the bank’s business model. He is the former vice president/treasurer of Lockport Savings, which he helped grow into an $8 billion enterprise by meeting the financial needs of individuals and small businesses.


Richard A. Wall ’78, PhD

Professor of Economics & Finance, Canisius College

Richard A. Wall’s 35-year investment in Canisius College continually yields great returns. The professor of economics/finance played a key role in establishing the Golden Griffin Fund (GGF). The student-run investment management program gives students the opportunity to make real investments using real money. Last spring, Wall guided the 2015 GGF team to an unprecedented world championship win at the CFA Institute Research Challenge.

Wall returned to the classroom this fall, after serving four years as vice president for academic affairs. During this time he seamlessly and successfully led the academic division through several changes in higher education.


Gerald Zon ’67, PhD

Director of Business Development, TriLink BioTechnologies

Gerald Zon has distinguished himself at every stage of his career. As a PhD candidate at Princeton University, he studied alongside the internationally-known organic chemist Kurt Mislow. He served as an educator on the faculty at Catholic University of America before breaking new ground in the field of cancer research and delving into entrepreneurial ventures.  

Zon examined drugs that target the human immunodeficiency virus. He explored DNA sequencing, and applied genomics analysis solutions to provide digital gene expression information to pharmaceutical, biotechnology and agricultural industries. Zon currently participates in research and development aimed at life sciences and forensics.


Adam O. Zyglis ’04

Editorial Cartoonist, The Buffalo News

If Adam O. Zyglis ’04 were to sketch out his career path, it would undoubtedly be picture perfect. An editorial cartoonist for The Buffalo News, Zyglis received the epitome of journalistic recognition in 2015 when he was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. The well-deserved honor illustrates years of hard work for Zyglis, who began honing his craft as an editorial cartoonist for The Griffin. Today, his cartoons are nationally-syndicated and appear in The Washington Post, USA Today, Newsweek, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times.