Distinguished Alumni

The list below is an abbreviated list of our distinguished alumni.  If you see anyone you think we have overlooked or have updates, please email wkresse@buffaloschools.org

1897-1950:

Raymond B. Fosdick '01- Undersecretary General of United Nations, Head of Rockefeller Foundation, President of NYC Board of Education.

Harold LeRoy Olmsted '03- Artist, painter, professional architect & consultant, landscape designer & architect, lecture, teacher, and etcher especially known for his landscape paintings.

David Lawrence ’06- Conservative newspaperman and syndicated columnist.  In 1933, Lawrence founded a weekly newspaper called United States News a weekly newspaper that he later merged in 1948 with his weekly magazine, World Report, to form the news magazine U.S. News & World Report.  At the time of Lawrence's 1973 death, the magazine had a circulation of 2 million.  On April 22, 1970, Lawrence was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Richard Nixon.

Rexford Tugwell ’11- Assistant Secretary (1933) and Under Secretary of Agriculture (1934-37) under President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. He also served as Governor of Puerto Rico from 1941 until 1946.

Edward A. Rath ’18- First County Executive of Erie County, NY.  Namesake of Rath County Office Building in downtown Bufalo.

Sidney Farber M.D. '20- Pioneer cancer scientist, doctor and founder of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts.

Walter "Wally" Koppisch ’20- A halfback who led his team to three consecutive Harvard Cup championships and went on to star at Columbia University, where he captained the Lions for three seasons. While playing in Columbia's backfield, Koppisch was teammates with future New York Yankee, Lou Gehrig. In 1923 and 1924 he received All-American honors. In 1981 he was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. Koppich went on to play in the National Football League for the Buffalo Bisons and New York Giants. At 23 years old, Koppisch, was named the head coach and a player for the Buffalo Bisons, making him among the youngest head coaches in NFL history. Koppisch remained in New York City after his playing career and became a stockbroker. At one point, he was a business partner of Lou Gehrig, his former Columbia teammate. 

Jimmy Slattery ’21- Professional boxer in the Light Heavyweight (175lb) division and World Light Heavyweight champion in 1927 and 1930.  The street, 'Jimmy Slattery Place', in South Buffalo was named in his honor in 2006.  Enshrined in the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Catherine "Kit" Klein ’28- Won Bronze and Gold Demonstration Medals in the 1932 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid for Speed Skating. In 1936 she won the World Skating Championship, Stockholm Sweden. She also competed in the 1936 Winter Olympics in Germany winning another demonstration gold.  She captured several National and North American championships as well as setting world record times.  Klein was the third women ever to be a ‘Wheatie’s Box Champion’.  She was elected to the Women's Sports, Speedskating and Amateur Speedskating Halls of Fame, and was one of the most celebrated athletes of the 1930's

Bea Massman ’32- Won 14 U.S. titles in badminton and coached for decades including serving as the first woman coach of a boy's tennis team in New York State.  Member of the U.S. Lifetime Sports Hall of Fame and the US Badminton Hall of Fame.

Richard Hofstadter ’33- Winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, American public intellectual of the 1950s, historian and DeWitt Clinton Professor of American History at Columbia University. In the course of his career, Hofstadter became the “iconic historian of postwar liberal consensus” whom twenty-first century scholars continue consulting, because his intellectually engaging books and essays remain pertinent to illuminating contemporary history.

Robert E. Schmidt ’33 (aka “Buffalo Bob Smith)- Television celebrity who gained enormous following among American children in the 1950's with his sidekick Howdy Doody.

1950-2000:

Dr. Jerome Kassirer M.D. ’50- Well-known national crusader on ethical issues in medicine in the United States, as well as the editor of the New England Journal of Medicine for many years.

Lucille Clifton ’53- Distinguished American poet who was a 1988 finalist for the Pulitzer prize, was awarded the national Book Award in 2000, and was the first African-American Woman to ever with the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, a $100,000 award that is one of American poetry’s signal honors.  The Poetry Society of America posthumously awarded her its highest honor, The Robert Frost Medal for distinguished lifetime achievement in American poetry.

Edith Johnson-Miller '63 - Winner of five National Women's Bicycle Championships and three national spped-skating championships. Her first win was in 1960 while she was a student at Fosdick-Masten Park. During the winter, she competed in speed-skating. Her times made her eligible for the 1960 U.S Olympic women’s speed-skating team, but she did not have the financial support to travel to the 1960 Games in Rome. She was the youngest female competitor to win a title in both sports. After winning her second national cycling title in 1961, she was featured in Sports Illustrated as a 15-year-old speed-skater with Olympic potential and received the key to the city from Buffalo mayor Frank Sedita.

Crystalea Burns-Pelletier ’78- First female Deputy Commissioner of the Buffalo Police Department.

Connie Porter ’78- Author of the Addy book series of the American Girls Collection for young readers, which has sold more than three million copies as well as All-Bright Court, selected by the American Library Association as one of the Best Books of 1991 and by the New York Times as one of its Notable Books of 1991.  Also the author of Imani All Mine.

Curtis Williams ’80- Musician and writer with Kool and the Gang.  Co-author of the City Honors School alma mater.

Leecia Eve ’82- A Harvard Law School graduate who ran for NYS lieutenant governor in 2006. She was also a Senior Policy advisor to U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton during her 2008 primary campaign for President, and her Maryland political director.

Dexter Johnson '82- Chief of the Structural Systems Dynamics Branch at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, OH. He received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. from the University at Buffalo, State University of New York and is the author of numerous professional papers and publications.

Megan Smith ’82- Named Chief Technology Officer of the United States of America in September 2014. Before that, she was Vice President, New Business Development, Google.com; General Manager, Google.org. She joined Google in 2003 and has led several of the company's acquisitions, including Keyhole (Google Earth), Where2Tech (Google Maps), and Picasa. She also co-led the company's early work with publishers for Google Book Search. Previously, Smith was the CEO and, earlier, COO of PlanetOut. Smith holds a bachelor's degree and a master's degree in mechanical engineering from MIT, where she now serves on the board.

Lisa Graziano, Ph.D. '83- Lisa is the co-owner and Managing Editor of Leapfrog Press. She spent ten years as a professor of oceanography at Sea Education Association in Woods Hole, MA before turning to a full-time writing career. She is the co-author of the 2008 book, Cretaceous Dawn along with her brother Michael ’85.

Louis Petrucci ’83- Buffalo Public Schools- Member of the Buffalo Board of Education from 2007-2013 and President of the Board for the 2011-12 school year.

John Licata ’83- Buffalo Public Schools- Member of the Buffalo Board of Education from 2009-2014.

Mylous Hairston ’83- Local media icon and news anchor for WIVB-TV in Buffalo, NY.

Micah Fink '84- Micah is the founder of Common Good Productions and is an award-winning producer, director and writer specializing in international affairs, public health, and environmental issues. Over the last fifteen years, he has worked on more than three dozen films for clients including PBS Wide Angle, National Geographic Explorer, National Geographic Wild, PBS Frontline, The Teaching Channel, and ABC News.

Michael Graziano, Ph.D. '85- Michael is co-owner of Leapfrog Press,alongside his sister Lisa ’83,  and is a Professor of Psychology at Princeton University. He is the author of several books including, The Divine Farce and God, Soul, Mind, Brain: A Neuroscientist's Reflections on the Spirit of the World.

Adam Martin ’85- Chief Executive Officer and Cofounder of Dave & Adam’s Card World, the third largest seller of trading card products in the world, behind only Wal-Mart and Target. The company also deals in sports memorabilia, holding exclusive contracts with numerous well-known professional athletes.

Jeff Schulman '85- University at Vermont's Director of Athletics.

Lisa Bell Wilson '87- Senior editor for sports at ESPN's The Undefeated. Was previously the executive sports editor of the Buffalo News from 2011-2017. Was the first (and to this day the only) African-American woman to run a sports department at a major metropolitan newspaper.

Craig Hannah ’88- Buffalo City Court judge.

Joe Murphy ’89- Founder/Owner of web development company Ingenious, Inc. Responsible for creating this website.

Michael LoCurto ’89- Councilman, City of Buffalo. A survivor and force for progress in our City, LoCurto was a heart transplant recipient in his teens and kidney transplant recipient in his '30's.

Peter Sauer ’91- Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Calspan Aerospace and Transportation Research/Development Corporation.

Alan Evans ‘92 and Neal Evans ’94- Founding musicians of the band Soulive.  Soulive’s sound is a blend of soul, jazz, and hiphop that has opened new frontiers in music.  The band has opened for the Rolling Stones tours and gained an international following.

Aaron Bartley ’93- Co-founder of the Harvard Living Wage Campaign, which advocated on behalf of more than 2,000 of the university’s service workers. The campaign resulted in $10 million in annual wage and benefit increases for the workers it represented. Executive director and co-founder of PUSH Buffalo which has aggressively helped to stabilize and revitalize housing and neighborhoods in Buffalo.

Jake Halpern ’93- Noted author and regular contributor to the New Yorker, Outside, The New York Times, The New Republic, Boston Magazine Online, and NPR’s All Things Considered.  Halpern’s most recent books are the Dormia fantasy fiction series which have drawn national acclaim and the American Library Association called, “The next Harry Potter series.” Halpern is a fellow at his alma mater, Yale University, where he teaches journalism.

Bridget Finn ’94- Competed in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia for USA synchronized swim team and was an alternate for the 1996 USA Gold Medal Olympic team.

Shaun Nelms, EdD '94- Superintendent, East High School Educational Partnership Organization, Rochester, NY and adjunct professor at the University of Rochester's Warner School of Education.

Malia Somerville '94- Following in the steps of former General Curators like Marlin Perkins, Malia Somerville became the General Curator of the Buffalo Zoo in fall 2013. She is responsible for managing the Zoo's entire animal collection.

Bill Burton ’95- President Barack Obama's Press Secretary for the 2008 election campaign and was a Deputy White House Press Secretary for the Obama administration from February 2009 until March 2011. He is now a senior strategist with the super PAC, Priorities USA Action.

Gregory Halpern ’95- Photojournalist, RIT professor and author of Harvard Works Because We Do.

Ben Toth '95- Musical director, film & theater composer, musical director, and vocal coach. He has written scores for both feature independent films and has served as musical director/vocal coach for some of the most popular actor/singers currently working on the stage, including Mandy Patinkin.  On November 18th, 2011, Ben made his Carnegie Hall debut, serving as Musical Director/Pianist/Arranger/Backup-singer for Cheyenne Jackson’s sold-out concert performance.

Susie Bartley, ’96- winner of the 2014 OnPoint Prize for Excellence in Education. In 2013, she was awarded the NEA’s H. Councill Trenholm Human & Civil Rights award for her commitment to creating greater equity in public education. She teaches AP English and coordinates the Advanced Scholar Program at Franklin High School in Portland, Oregon.

Steve Mesler, ’96- First Western New York Athlete to win a gold medal at the Winter Olympics.  Member of the 2006 and 2010 United States Olympic Bobsled Team; 2009, 2010 United States World Cup Championship teams.  Holds several University of Florida/South East Conference decathlon records.

Marcena Lozano '98- Marcena was born with a congenital heart defect and had her first operation when she was only a day old.  Her first open heart surgery when she was six months old. She was 13 when she had her first heart transplant. In 1996, she won four medals at the US Transplant Games in Salt Lake City. She graduated with her class and received a second heart transplant in 2003. She wen on to major in Social Work at Buffalo State College. She died in August 2005 and her memory is kept alive with the Marcena Lozano Donate Life Scholarship Fund and massive annual ‘Elephant Run’ held each year in Buffalo.

2000-Present:

Jennifer Hanley '02 - Astronomer at Lowell Observatory. A graduate of Cornell, who went on to receive her Ph.D. in Space & Planetary Science from the University at Arkansas, Hanley was one of the co-authors of the September 2015 scientific paper that helped NASA prove there is water on Mars.

Erin Heaney '05- former Executive Director of the Clean Air Coalition of Western New York and current organizer with Showing Up for Racial Justice. A graduate of Swarthmore College, Heaney was previously a leader with STAND: a student-anti genocide coalition that became one of the largest student movements in the country.