By Calvin Dimmig, News Editor.
The renaming of the Charles J. Wick Student Center has left Daemen students wondering, who is John R. Yurtchuk and why is the student center named after him?
Board of Trustee Chair John R. Yurtchuk became the new namesake for Daemen University’s student center on Sept. 12, 2023. Yurtchuk has served the Daemen community for a decade and donated a $2 million gift to the community–the largest since the University’s founding.
Yurtchuk began serving the Daemen community as a member of the Advisory Board, then a member of the Board of Trustees, and then the chair of the Board of Trustees. According to Daemen President Gary Olson, Yurtchuk has served nine years on the Board of Trustees. Yurtchuk is the institution’s most consequential donor according to the Daemen Newsroom.
Yurtchuk graduated from the University at Buffalo with a B.A. and an M.A. in economics. He received his doctorate from the same institution.
He soon found work as a Wall Street banker for the Irving Trust Company, a discontinued American Commercial Bank now owned by the Bank of New York, and taught economics and business at SUNY Buffalo, Medaille College, and SUNY Fredonia.
In 1990, Yurtchuk founded his own company, Matrix Development Corporation. The Matrix Development Corporation developed medical, industrial, and residential projects across the nation.
Yurtchuk recently sold Calspan Corporation, an aviation and transportation company in Cheektowaga, to a publicly traded aerospace manufacturing company headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio: TransDigm Group. According to Matt Glynn from the Buffalo News, Yurtchuk received $725 million for the sale of Calspan Corporation.
Yurtchuk and President Olson have worked together on the Board of Trustees for years.
“One of the things is that in the last decade, we became considered a multi-campus university by the state of New York. This is a special designation because we have been giving degrees in Brooklyn for probably 15 years now,” said Olson.
Daemen’s campus in Brooklyn provides various educational programs for Hasidic Jews and fully accommodates their cultural beliefs. These accommodations include scheduling arrangements for a Saturday Sabbath and holidays such as Yom Kippur and Rosh Hashanah.
As Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Yurtchuk oversees the vision and direction of the most influential members of the Daemen community. The Board of Trustees is an advisory board that maintains the full authority to manage and direct the property, affairs, and business of the University. President of Vanocur Refractories LLC Paul A. Saffrin sits as Vice Chair on the Board. Other notable members of the Daemen Board of Trustees include President of West Herr Auto Group Scott Bieler, President and CEO of Roswell Park Cancer Institute Candace S. Johnson, and Provincial Minister for the Sisters of St. Francis Jo-Anne Grabowski.