Alumnae » Distinguished Alumnae

Distinguished Alumnae

Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart is blessed to have many distinguished alumnae. We celebrate the accomplishments of these women, and others who support our Franciscan mission, through the special honors conferred at our annual Christus Super Omnia Scholarship and Awards Dinner.
Selections of award winners is very competitive and providing detailed nomination information helps greatly in the process. Nominations can be submitted using the online nomination form or by printing the form and mailing it to Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart, 3860 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14226, ATT: Christus Super Omnia Awards.

Award Categories include:

Christus Super Omnia Distinguished Alumnae Award
Awarded to Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart alumnae who have distinguished themselves in their careers and/or civic and community activities and exemplify the spirit and tradition of Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart.

The Franciscan Charism Award
Awarded to members of the Buffalo Academy of the Sacred Heart's extended family who have given unselfishly of their time and talents to further the mission of Sacred Heart.

Living the Spirit Award
Awarded to individuals and or organizations of the larger community who have chosen to use their God-given talents in outstanding service to others following the tradition of St. Francis and St. Clare.

2018 Distinguished Alumnae
Jennifer Walters, D.Min. '78
Jennifer WaltersDr. Jennifer Walters ‘78 is an accomplished Episcopalian Priest and Dean of the Undergraduate College at Bryn Mawr College where she oversees residential life, medical and counseling services, academic advising, services for students with disabilities, student activities, inclusion and diversity programing, international education, and academic support services.

Despite her long list of responsibilities, Jennifer prioritizes personal investment in individual students. This constant intention to be present to others is at the heart of Jennifer’s ministry.

Jennifer reflects often and is appreciative of the Sisters of St. Francis who taught her in elementary school and at Sacred Heart. She recalls how the Sisters encouraged her to challenge ideas, ask questions and continually learn. Jennifer also credits her days playing varsity sports at SHA with teaching her important life lessons. In athletics, she was encouraged to take risks.
She shares a vivid memory of running down the court in brand new white Converse high top sneakers, “They weren't broken in yet and were a little ‘grippy’ on the floor. Sister Maria sent me in as a sub. I ran onto the court and tripped over my feet. No big defensive play. No lunge for the ball. I just tripped. I felt so exposed sprawled there on the gym floor, I was sure that everyone was looking at me and was thinking the worst. I had no choice but to pick myself up and keep going. Sr. Maria kept me in the game and never said a word. Everybody falls. Everybody gets up.” As the dean of a college, Jennifer is always thinking about how her organization can take risks to make things better and to create a work and learning environment that rewards contributions of many kinds and see failure as a part of learning.

Kathleen Walters Converse ’84, Mary Walters Kvetkosky ’91 and Jessi Walters Graham ’93 nominated their big sister, Jennifer Walters ’78 to receive the Christus Super Omnia Distinguished Alumna award because they said, “We see a devoted, loyal, compassionate, non-judgmental, empathetic human being who cherishes and respects all life and demonstrates Franciscan values daily in her roles of sister, mother, Episcopal pastor, and dean.
Patty Haberman, D.D.S. '80

To know Dr. Patty Haberman is to love her. She has an effervescent, charismatic personality that allows her to connect easily with everyone she meets. In 2006, she felt called to establish the Dental Office at Good Neighbors on Jefferson Avenue in Buffalo. As the direct result of her warmth in relating to others, many of her colleagues and friends from Church signed up to volunteer by her side.


Patty credits her experiences at SHA for giving her the confidence and leadership skills required to establish and run the clinic. “I did not understand then that volunteerism was part of the Sacred Heart Tradition, the integration of Franciscan charism into our daily activities.”


Patty also owns a private general dental practice on Main Street in Eggertsville, NY and is a Clinical Assistant Professor at SUNY Buffalo School of Dental Medicine. In addition to her busy professional life, Patty has been involved with a number of non-profit organizations and has served on the Academy’s Board of Directors and STEM Advisory Committee. As past president of the Eighth District Dental Society, the Erie County Dental Society, and Catholic Charities’ Guild of Saint Apollonia and as most recently, as a Regent to the New York State Board of Dentistry, Patty generously shares her time and leadership skills.


The Erie County Dental Society Frank Stone Award for Service to the Profession, UB Dental Alumni Humanitarian Award, Buffalo Business First’s Woman of Influence Award, Community Leader Award from the National Federation for Just Communities, and Buffalo Spree’s Top Dentist Award are among the commendations Patty has received for both her professional accomplishments and volunteer endeavors.


Patty is encouraged daily by her husband, Doug Dickinson, and inspired by her friends in the Franciscan community.


Jennifer Korzen O'Toole, M.D., M.Ed. '95

Dr. Jennifer Korzen O’Toole ’95 developed a love of learning while a student at SHA and her insatiable curiosity and enthusiasm continues to be the driving force in her life.


Jennifer is an accomplished and renowned pediatric and adult hospitalist at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and University of Cincinnati Medical Center, and an associate professor of pediatrics and internal medicine at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine (UCCOM).
Jennifer’s clinical and research interests include resident education, curriculum development and innovation, hand-off communication, patient/family centered care, and inpatient care for adults with congenital or complex healthcare needs admitted to pediatric hospitals.
Jen has published over 30 peer-reviewed articles in medical journals. She has secured over $1 million dollars in research funding for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. She has been an invited guest lecturer at institutions including Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Johns Hopkins University, and Boston Children’s Hospital. In recognition of her contributions to medical education and research, she has received numerous awards including the Brendan P. Kelly, MD Award, the Society of Hospital Medicine Award for Teaching Excellence and the Cincinnati Children's Faculty Education Achievement Award. In 2017, she was invited to be a member of the American Board of Pediatrics.


As a wife and mother of three children, she promotes work life balance, presenting on that topic as well as modeling it in her own life and workplace. She has served as President of the school council at Guardian Angels School in Cincinnati, Ohio, and as a volunteer coach for “Girls on the Run”, a program that inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident.
2018 Franciscan Charism Award
Anne Spasiano
Teachers as popular and beloved as Anne Spasiano (the students lovingly called her “Spas”) are few and far between. Over her 33-year career at SHA, as a French teacher and moderator of Student Council, hundreds of young women benefited from Anne’s warm humor, kindness, compassion and gentle guidance as she taught and mentored them.
While anyone who had Anne would say she was a great teacher, what made her truly extraordinary was the way she connected with her students one on one. Students knew they could share any problem with her and receive loving support and guidance. On more than one occasion, Anne purchased tickets for girls who otherwise couldn’t afford to go to a dance and took girls shopping for and purchased their prom gowns. She was always present and available to her students in any way they needed it. They loved her for it.
The announcement of Anne’s retirement brought a record number of comments to SHA’s Facebook page. Nearly 800 past students wished Anne well with comments like:
• “She always believed in me and was hugely formative during my high school years. I don't think I'd have a master's degree and be where I am today, if she had not made me believe that I could do anything I wanted.”
• “You were one of the coolest teachers we ever had. Enjoy retirement!”
• “I wouldn't be who I am today without your support and encouragement many years ago. You made a huge difference in my life.”
Anne modeled Franciscan values to impressionable young women for decades. In turn, her students have carried these lessons with them throughout their lives. We wish her all the best in her retirement.
2018 Living the Spirit Award
Buffalo Promise Neighborhood as made possible by the M&T Bank Foundation
In the early 1990’s, the late M&T Bank Chairman and CEO, Bob Wilmers, was concerned about the state of education in Buffalo’s public schools and wondered, “If M&T were to adopt a struggling school and invest in it, could we make a difference?” In 1993, the idea was put to the test when Mr. Wilmers led a group of M&T Bank employees to help revitalize Buffalo Public School 68, one of the lowest performing sites at the time.

As School 68 transitioned to Westminster Community Charter School and achieved success, M&T ultimately brought the national Promise Neighborhood model to Buffalo in 2012, officially creating Buffalo Promise Neighborhood. Now, Buffalo Promise Neighborhood operates three schools within the 14215 zip code. Each school provides innovative programming to support and enrich the lives of families both inside and outside the classroom.

The Promise Scholars Program provides students who attended private high schools of their choosing with a full scholarship. SHA’s very own Chelsea Thornton (pictured here in the center) was chosen as the first recipient of the Robert G. Wilmers College Scholarship which is awarded to a student who has persevered despite obstacles, shown leadership, and exemplified personal achievement and volunteerism. The funds will help Chelsea pay her college tuition at Niagara University where she studies communications. Chelsea is pictured here with other Buffalo Promise graduates including Sadiya Young ’18, to the left of Chelsea, and Kenya Sanders ’18, the last student on the right.

Use our online form to submit a nomination for the Christus Super Omnia Distinguished Alumna award, Franciscan Charism award or Living the Spirit award.