September 2000

Maureen Millane Rusk

by Vince EVANS

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To say that MAUREEN MILLANE RUSK loves to promote learning may be an understatement. But what is not understated is her passion and drive in all that she embraces in life. Maureen’s professional, volunteer and personal life is rich in examples of contributions to furthering knowledge and nurturing growth. She credits Canisius College through the leadership of Rev. Vincent M. Cooke, S.J., President for espousing the ideal of academic excellence along with a sense of responsibility to use one’s gifts for the service of others and the benefits of society. She is the Assistant Dean of the Wehle School of Business at Canisius College where she is responsible for external business programs for the Center for Entrepreneurship, the Canisius Center at Amherst, the Center for Professional Development and the Urban Community Service Program.

While serving as the Executive Director of the Canisius Center at Amherst, Maureen was intimately involved in every detail of the opening of the Amherst campus which functions as a conference center, as well as hosting MBA and Center for Professional Development programs. The center’s unique layout, which combines modern technology in its conference rooms and computer labs with well-appointed furniture and artwork in its common areas, provides an upscale yet hospitable learning environment. It’s not surprising to learn that Maureen along with her boss, Dr. Richard A. Shick, Dean of the Business School and the Center received the 1997 “Excellence in Education” award from the Amherst Chamber of Commerce.

In her role with the Center for Professional Development, Maureen develops contract training programs, public workshops and professional certification programs for the business and not-for-profit community. Some of the new programs designed by Maureen and her staff include Fundamentals of Fundraising, e-commerce for any business, Fundamentals of Public Relations and Critical Thinking Skills, the latter of which has been offered at twenty-five General Motors and Ford plants nationwide.

The Buffalo native honed her teaching and creative skills in her early college years. As a sophomore she tutored upper- class students in chemistry at Cornell University for five dollars an hour. She also held the distinction of refusing a date in lieu of the five dollars with then Cornell football great and later Hill Street Blues star Ed Marinaro. She was also one of the first females inducted into the prestigious Quill and Dagger Honorary Society.

Maureen graduated with honors from the Cornell University Hotel Administration program and earned her MBA with honors from Canisius College. She began her professional career as a trainer in the organizational development department for the Marriott Corporation. During her career, she served on opening teams for eleven hotels across the country and writing over eighteen policy and procedure manuals and employee handbooks. Prior to joining Canisius, she was Resident Manager of the 750 room Pittsburgh Hilton and Towers Hotel.

Maureen and her husband, Brian, a public relaions officer for the New York State Thruway/Canal are parents of two children; Justine, nine and Michael, five. She is the daughter of NY State Commissioner of Ethics Lynn Millane and the late “Bud” Millane, attorney. Maureen volunteers a considerable amount of time to advancing the interests of the community. Her past and present board memberships include American Red Cross, Society of Human Resource Management and the Better Business Bureau and she is actively involved in the United Way and Buffalo Rotary. With art as another of her priority interests, she serves as a docent for the Albright Knox Art Gallery and conducts personalized tours of the gallery on weekends and for corporate groups. To further raise the understanding of business and industry in Western New York, Maureen is one of the hosts and producers of “PULSE”, a business public service program that is broadcast on Sundays on WUTV Fox 29.

A life devoted to service, a woman freely giving to her community, an unapologetic booster of business in Western New York - Maureen Millane Rusk continues to nourish the seeds of creativity and enlightenment in her everyday pursuits. We can learn much by her example alone.

Vince Evans is a freelance writer.


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