Pridgen '07 Honored with Student Veteran Alumni Award

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Medaille Alum Summer Gemmati Handzlik
February 16, 2012

Darius Pridgen and guests at award ceremony

Medaille College presented the 2012 Student Veteran Alumni award to alumnus Darius Pridgen ’07 at a ceremony on Wednesday, February 16. Pridgen is the first person to receive this prestigious recognition.

A committee put together by the Office of Veterans and Military Affairs went through a rigorous selection process to choose the inaugural award winner, who exemplifies what it means to be a veteran, student and leader who gives back to his or her community.

Pridgen, current Ellicott District Common Council Member, served in the United States Air Force from 1983-1987. He achieved the rank of staff sergeant, and earned a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice from Buffalo State College while serving in the Air Force. He went on to become pastor at True Bethel Baptist Church, where he currently serves as senior pastor. In 2007, Pridgen earned a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Medaille College. His involvement and dedication to the city of Buffalo have made him a true leader in the community.

With Heidi Raphael, a Medaille graduate and trustee, introducing each speaker, Darius Pridgen addressed the assembled guests. Attendees also heard from William Weeks, a professor who taught Pridgen in several of his classes at Medaille, and two service members: Maj. Carlos M. Benitez (Ret.), Director, Erie County Veteran's Service Agency and Maj. Andrea E. Pitruzzella '08, Public Affairs Officer, 914th Airlift Wing.

Pictured: Chris Wopperer '11, Judith Horowitz, Ph.D., Sergio R. Rodriguez '08 '12, Maj. Andrea Pitruzzella, Darius Pridgen, Melanie Agahiu '13, Maj. Carlos Benitez (Ret.), Chad Wainwright.

I'm grateful for the education I've received.

The instructors were knowledgeable and welcomed class discussions, with
respect for each student's contribution. I've learned how to be a more
effective leader. My capstone class gave insight on how to combine all
the education learned to operate a business. That's when I realized how
much I had sharpened my knowledge.

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