Two alumni pore over an old Elm yearbook at the 50-Plus Alumni Reunion Luncheon

Buffalo State Alumni Gather for 50-Plus Club Reunion Luncheon


Nearly 100 loyal Buffalo State alumni returned to campus to reunite and reminisce during the 50-Plus Club Alumni Reunion Luncheon, held in the LoRusso Alumni and Visitor Center on July 16. The annual event honors Buffalo State alumni who graduated 50 or more years ago.

Barbara Blackburn, smiling, holding her award
Barbara (Breeding) Blackburn, ’64, ’67

Barbara (Breeding) Blackburn, ’64, ’67, received the 2023 Buffalo State Senior Service Award during the event for her contributions and dedication to the community.

Through her popular Buffalo Metro News column, “The Kitchen Wizard,” and her Old West magazine column, featuring cooking history and recipes from the American West, Ms. Blackburn has not only provided decades of mouthwatering recipes but also shared fascinating stories and anecdotes about various cuisines from around the world. Her writing has been a window to different cultures, fostering understanding and appreciation for diverse culinary traditions. She has also contributed monthly culinary reviews as “The Kiddie Gourmet,” which appeared in Western New York Family Magazine for over 30 years. The Buffalo News named her “Cook of the Month” in 2013.

Ms. Blackburn has served in a number of leadership roles with the National League of American Pen Women’s Western New York branch, a writing group that has been in existence for over 100 years, and she generously funds annual scholarships for aspiring writers, artists, and composing musicians.

With a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in secondary education from Buffalo State, Ms. Blackburn is a natural teacher. She has served on the board of Erie County’s Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and has been a cooking instructor for Williamsville Community Education and a chef and instructor for the Chautauqua Institution and for Artpark for over 25 years.

She has received many awards for her work, including recognition from the Niagara Frontier Radio Reading Service for her 30-plus years as a live reader for two newspapers. She also received the St. Joseph the Worker Award from Saints Peter & Paul Church in Williamsville for her years of involvement in parish ministries and volunteer work.

Photos by Nick Butler.