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Bain Awards President’s Medals at 59th Commencement


Bain Awards President’s Medals at 59th Commencement

During the College’s 59th Commencement ceremonies, Dr. Donald Bain, President, honored two individuals with President's Medals. Sister Christine Wagner, SSJ, Ph.D., Executive Director of the St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Center, received the President's Medal for Service to the Rochester Community, and Mr. Walter Parkes, Chairman of the Board, O’Connell Electric, received the President's Medal for Service to St. John Fisher College and the Rochester Community.

Wagner has served as the Executive Director of St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Center, Inc., since 1995. Previously, she was the project coordinator who worked to establish the Center, spearheading the renovation of the facility, site management, and fundraising.

She has also worked as the Justice and Peace Coordinator for the Sisters of St. Joseph; was a member of the Sociology faculty at Nazareth College; and served as the Regional Director of the Justice and Peace Department of the Genesee Valley Office of Social Ministries for the Rochester Catholic Diocese. In addition, she has worked at St. Joseph’s Villa; served as a junior high school teacher in Seneca Falls; and was an instructor for mentally handicapped children and adults at the School for the Holy Childhood.

Wagner serves on a variety of community boards, including the Greater Rochester Health Foundation, New York/Pennsylvania Region of the American Red Cross, Rochester Interfaith Health Care Coalition, and Nazareth Schools. In 1992, she graduated from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University with a doctorate in social science. She is also a graduate of The College at Brockport and Monroe Community College (MCC). Wagner has been a member of the sisters of St. Joseph since 1975.

In 2010, she was inducted into the MCC Alumni Hall of Fame. That same year, she received WXXI’s “Be More Engaged” Award. She has also been the recipient of the Howard Berman Award, the Lymann Wynn Award from the Marriage and Family Therapy Association of Western New York, and the Edward Mott Moore Aware from the Monroe County Medical Society.

President Bain and Dr. Dianne Cooney Miner, Dean, Wegmans School of Nursing, congratulate Sister Christine Wagner, SSJ, Ph.D.

Parkes has held the position of Chairman of O’Connell Electric since 2006. His nearly 60 years of experience in the electrical construction business, combined with his extensive industry knowledge, strong leadership, and entrepreneurial vision for future opportunities and growth, have helped build O’Connell Electric into the successful organization it is today.

Today, Parkes serves as a board member of the Pluta Cancer Center and the Electrical Licensing Board for the City of Rochester. He is also past president of the Rochester Builders Exchange, past president and governor of the Finger Lakes New York Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), past governor of the Northeastern Line Constructors Chapter, former vice president of NECA District 10, and co-chair for the Council of Industrial Relations.

In 1995, Parkes and his late wife, Carmina, created The Mary M. Parkes Center for Asthma, Allergy, and Pulmonary Care, named after their daughter who died at the age of 32 as a result of a severe asthma episode. Now affiliated with the University of Rochester Medical Center, The Mary M. Parkes Center was the first state-of-the-art asthma facility located in the northeastern United States, and offers great promise in preserving and building upon excellence in patient care and furthering technology and research efforts.

In recognition of his business achievements and contributions to the community, Parkes was inducted into the Rochester Business Hall of Fame in 2006. In addition, he was the recipient of the National Electrical Contractors Association’s prestigious James H. McGraw Award in 1995, the Comstock Award in 2005, the Electrical Contracting Foundation Wendt Award for exemplary leadership and service, and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rochester Builders Exchange in 2003.

Victor Salerno, Vice Chair of the College's Board of Trustees, and President Bain present Walter Parkes with the President's Medal.

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