Weekly Feature



2015-08-05 / Local News

Williamsville resident named St. Bonaventure Alumni of the Year

SOMEONE YOU SHOULD KNOW
by PATRICK J. NAGY


Williamsville resident John Berger Sr. accepts an award as 2015 St. Bonaventure University’s Alumni of the Year from St. Bonaventure’s president, Sister Margaret Carney. Williamsville resident John Berger Sr. accepts an award as 2015 St. Bonaventure University’s Alumni of the Year from St. Bonaventure’s president, Sister Margaret Carney. John Berger Sr. has been an active alumni member of St. Bonaventure University since he graduated in 1960.

For his years of service, the Williamsville resident was named St. Bonaventure’s Alumni of the Year for 2015 at the school’s reunion weekend in June.

Berger, who graduated with a Doctor of Business Administration degree in accounting, shared the honor with John McGinley Jr. Berger received a plaque from the university’s president, Sister Margaret Carney.

“It’s a pretty big honor,” Berger said. “It’s not an everyday occurrence. It was my 55th reunion. It’s always a special event.”

Berger had no idea he was going to receive the honor.

“It sort of blindsided me a little bit,” he said. “I couldn’t believe it. I was sitting with our class, so we had six tables with eight to 10 people. They all stood up and gave me a standing ovation.”

As an undergraduate, Berger was class president three of four years.

Since he graduated, Berger has served the school in a number of functions. He was chairman of the Alumni Fund in 2005.

He has also been a consistent member of St. Bonaventure’s Devereux Giving Societies — donors who make annual gifts of at least $1,000 to the university — and the Seraphim Legacy Society, which honors alumni and friends who preserve and pass on the St. Bonaventure promise through deferred or “planned” gifts, such as wills, trusts or other methods. He also has been an active supporter of the school’s athletics program as well as Mt. Irenaeus, a retreat center 32 miles from the campus.

Berger has also served as class agent, class challenge volunteer and on the Little Three Golf committee.

Soon after graduating, Berger began a long career in the insurance industry, running his own agency, the John G. Berger Insurance Agency Inc., for more than 30 years.

Berger has been a senior client executive for seven years with Lawley Insurance in Amherst. Berger said he is an insurance broker and works in commercial and personalized insurance.

Berger and his wife, Pat, have three children, John Jr., Suzanne and Anne; and six grandchildren.

Berger Jr. was recently inducted into the St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute Signum Fidei society. The award is presented annually to individuals who distinguish themselves in their professional career and community activities. Berger Sr., also a St. Joe’s alum, received the award in 2002.

Berger Sr. has also been a member of Transit Valley Country Club since 1960 and was a past president.

(Story ideas for this feature can be sent to Amherst Bee Associate Editor Keaton DePriest, Bee Publications, 5564 Main St., Williamsville, NY 14221 or call 204-4917.)

Return to top