Robert D. Gioia to Receive Distinguished Citizen Achievement Award

April 1, 2013


BUFFALO, NYThe Canisius College Board of Regents will present Robert D. Gioia with its Distinguished Citizen Achievement Award at its 47th annual Scholarship Ball on Saturday, May 4 at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo. The Regents Scholarship Ball is the principal fundraiser for the Canisius College Board of Regents Scholarship Fund. Independent Health is the presenting sponsor of the event.

“The Board of Regents is proud to bestow its Distinguished Citizen Achievement Award upon Mr. Gioia, a longtime champion for Buffalo and all of Western New York,” says Deborah DiMatteo MBA ’88, co-chair of the Scholarship Ball with Rocco Lucente ’80. “Countless non-profit organizations and institutions are economically and culturally more vibrant as a result of his leadership and vision,” adds Lucente.

A Buffalo native, Gioia began his career in 1970 as part of the third generation of the Gioia family operating the Gioia Macaroni Company. He held subsequent leadership positions at The Red Wing Co. Inc. and the Food Group of Strategic Investments and Holdings.

Gioia’s business acumen, political savvy and strength of character have since made him one of the region’s most engaged and influential leaders, often called upon to guide community initiatives through difficult tasks.

As chair of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority, Gioia led the completion of the $120 million Buffalo-Niagara International Airport. A similar role with the Western New York Health System resulted in the successful implementation of hospital streamlining plans for the state Berger Commission.

Gioia currently serves as president of The John R. Oishei Foundation, Western New York’s largest private charitable foundation. In this role, Gioia leads the Foundation in its mission to be a catalyst for change to enhance economic vitality and the quality of life for the Buffalo Niagara region. During Gioia’s tenure with the Oishei Foundation, he has helped affect positive change on communities, as well as cultural, educational, health and medical research institutions throughout the region. Most recently, Gioia facilitated a $10 million gift from the Foundation for a new women’s and children’s hospital in Western New York.

In addition to his leadership role with the Oishei Foundation, Gioia steers the momentum to develop a world-class waterfront as chair of the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation (ECHDC). Appointed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, Gioia’s efforts support the development of public activities at Canalside, the Ohio Street corridor and the Outer Harbor for the enjoyment of Western New York residents and to restore economic growth in Buffalo.

The Regents Scholarship Ball provides vital financial support to promising young students, who otherwise would not be able to take advantage of a Canisius education.

To purchase tickets or learn about sponsorship opportunities for the ball, contact Beth Crvelin, assistant director of advancement events and stewardship, at 716-888-8228 or at

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