Students in caps and gowns applauding at commencement

Buffalo State Distinguished Alumnus Award Recipients to Deliver Commencement Addresses May 18


Three highly accomplished Buffalo State alumni will receive the Buffalo State Distinguished Alumnus Award and address the Class of 2024 during Buffalo State’s 152nd Commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 18, in the campus Sports Arena. 

Anne Constantino, ’80, CEO of Telos Consulting Group LLC, will deliver the Commencement address at the 9:00 a.m. School of the Professions ceremony; Sheila Rayam, ’90, executive editor of the Buffalo News, will speak at the 1:00 p.m. ceremony for the School of Arts and Sciences; and Darren J. Brown-Hall, ’96, ’98, superintendent of the Williamsville Central School District, will address the university’s School of Education 5:00 p.m. ceremony.

Anne Constantino, Class of 1980

School of the Professions Commencement Address | 9:00 a.m. Ceremony

Headshot of Anne Constantino

Anne Constantino, CEO of Telos Consulting Group LLC, has had a distinguished career spanning three decades as the president and CEO of Horizon Health Services. Under her leadership, Horizon experienced remarkable growth and established itself as a beacon of excellence in the behavioral health industry both statewide and nationally.

Constantino’s unwavering dedication to mission, culture, and ongoing learning played a pivotal role in Horizon’s success. She attributes the organization’s achievements to the cultivation of a high-performing and dedicated team. Among Horizon’s notable accomplishments is the establishment of 195 inpatient beds across two campuses in Erie and Niagara County, addressing the needs of individuals grappling with substance abuse disorder. Additionally, she oversaw the expansion of mental health services across three counties, earning Horizon a reputation for service excellence, compassionate care, and instilling hope within families.

Following her retirement in 2023, Constantino transitioned to the realm of consulting, leveraging her expertise to offer executive and leadership coaching services. She firmly believes that nurturing the professional and socioemotional growth of senior managers and executives leads to enhanced organizational performance, commitment, and overall well-being. Her core values of equity, respect, excellence, health, and life balance serve as the cornerstone of her personal and professional endeavors, infusing her coaching and consulting relationships with integrity and purpose.

Constantino holds a bachelor of science in art education from Buffalo State University and a master’s degree in counseling and educational psychology from the University at Buffalo.

Sheila E. Rayam, Class of 1990

School of Arts and Sciences Commencement Address | 1:00 p.m. Ceremony

Headshot of Sheila Rayam


Sheila Rayam is the executive editor of the Buffalo News. She is the first Black journalist and the second woman to hold the position in the newspaper’s 144-year history.

Before becoming Buffalo’s top editor, Rayam served as the executive editor of Gannett’s Mohawk Valley properties, including the Observer-Dispatch in Utica and the Times Telegram in Herkimer.

A 1990 graduate of Buffalo State University’s journalism program, Rayam has worked in print media for more than three decades. She spent the bulk of her career at the Democrat and Chronicle in Rochester, New York, where she held many roles, including suburban reporter, copy editor, music critic, entertainment editor, and opinion editor.

She is passionate about serving the community through journalism that informs and helps readers navigate their lives.

Rayam is also passionate about helping the community through volunteer work with her sorority sisters of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. She became a member of Zeta Phi Beta in spring 1987 in Buffalo. Joining Zeta and graduating from Buffalo State are two of the proudest moments of her life.


Darren J. Brown-Hall, Class of 1996 and 1998

School of Education Commencement Address | 5:00 p.m. Ceremony

Headshot of Darren Brown-Hall

Darren Brown-Hall is the superintendent of the Williamsville Central School District—the largest suburban school district in Western New York. He was appointed Williamsville superintendent in July 2021. 

Brown-Hall has over 20 years of experience in the field of education and works every day to make a significant impact on the lives of students. Realizing his love for education and the influence he had on students, he returned to the field of education after working for two years at HSBC Bank as an e-business analyst following the completion of HSBC’s management development program and working in London.

He previously served as chief of staff for the Buffalo Public Schools as well as interim superintendent and associate superintendent for human resources. In addition, Brown-Hall served as principal of Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts and Community School 53, and as assistant principal of South Park High School. He began his career in education as a mathematics teacher at Sweet Home High School.

Brown-Hall is an adjunct instructor in the Christmann Family Educational Leadership Program at Buffalo State. He is an active member of several professional organizations, including the Committee for Identifying and Developing Educational Leadership (CIDEL), and he serves on several boards, including the Western New York Education Service Council (WNYESC), Compass House, and Gay and Lesbian Youth Services of Western New York. He received the Buffalo State EOP Distinguished Alumnus Award in May 2023.

He earned his bachelor of science and master of science degrees in mathematics education from Buffalo State University, and his M.B.A. from Canisius University with concentrations in finance and management information systems. He also completed his coursework for school and district level administrator certification at Canisius University and received an advanced certificate in school business and human resources management from the University at Buffalo (UB). Brown-Hall earned his doctor of education in educational administration from UB in 2018.