Alvin Turner and Kate Conway-Turner posing with Benji Bengal

Buffalo State Bengala 25 Breaks Scholarship Fundraising Record


Buffalo State College’s 25th annual Bengala, held May 7, raised a record amount for scholarship funds—almost $500,000—for the Muriel A. Howard Honors Program.

Held this year in the Science and Mathematics Complex and the adjoining courtyard, Bengala is the signature fundraiser for honors student scholarships. Since it began, Bengala has raised roughly $6 million.

“Our goals for Bengala are the same every year, but this year being the 25th Bengala and the final stretch of Buffalo State’s 150th anniversary celebration, we only heightened those goals,” said James Finnerty, vice president for institutional advancement. “I would like to extend my deep gratitude to Carlos Jones, associate dean of the School of Arts and Sciences; Amy McMillan, director of the honors program; Alexis Greinert, development coordinator; and the entire Bengala committee for helping to make this year’s event a roaring success.”

Buffalo State President Katherine Conway-Turner said she is extremely pleased with every aspect of this year’s Bengala, including that it attracted close to 500 guests. Among those were past Bengala and board chairs and 100 new friends of the college.

“Every year the Bengala gives us the opportunity to highlight all the ways in which we fulfill our mission as an urban-engaged campus that promotes academic excellence and social mobility,” Conway-Turner said. “Without the gala, we wouldn’t be able to offer a number of scholarships each year to well-deserving students who make up our amazing honors program.”

This marks the first in-person gala the college has held since 2019. The presenting sponsor was M&T Bank.

“After two years of holding the gala remotely, the committee did an amazing job of reconnecting with our current and former College Council and Buffalo State Foundation and Alumni boards, not to mention two past presidents and more than a dozen Bengala chairs,” Finnerty said. “Thank you to Missy Cornish, Judy Elliott, Tracy Sawicki, and everyone on the foundation development committee for reaching out to these important individuals from the past 25 years. The immediate success is undeniable; however, the long-term impact of this level of engagement with so many people will be felt for years.”

Photos by Buffalo State Creative Services.