Mount Saint Mary College's 12th Annual Gala Reception, left to right: Dr. Jason N. Adsit, president of the Mount; and honorees Nick Citera and Nicolas DiBrizzi of Cosimo's Restaurant Group; and Michael J. Quinn, president and CEO of Rhinebeck Savings Bank.
Friends of the Mount enjoyed celebrating live and in-person at the college's 12th Annual Gala Reception on Friday, December 10, which honored three outstanding pillars of our local community.
The Gala raised more than $153,000 in gifts, sponsorships, and ticket sales, which will be used to support the Annual Gala Endowed Scholarship Fund. This scholarship will be awarded to academically strong students with financial need, with preference given to students pursuing a degree in Business. Mount scholarships provide an affordable, values-based education to thousands of deserving students, many of whom are among the first in their families to attend college.
"A lot of our students live on the margin," said Dr. Jason N. Adsit, president of the Mount. Small amounts of money, "$100, $200, even $50, can throw off their entire education. To see $153,000 raised by you amazing people goes a long way to helping first generation students and students living on the margins to achieve their dreams. This is real, this has an impact, and this matters."
Michael J. Quinn, president and CEO of Rhinebeck Bank, and Nick Citera and Nicolas DiBrizzi of Cosimo's Restaurant Group, were honored with the Joseph A. Bonura Award for Leadership Excellence. This award recognizes individuals or organizations whose professional accomplishments, service to the community, and leadership reflect the same commitment to quality, concern for neighbors, and shared prosperity that have exemplified the career and character of local restaurateur Joseph A. Bonura.
"I'm very honored to be recognized tonight," said Quinn. "Communities are built on normal people; communities are made of first-generation college students," and giving such students more opportunities to succeed will strengthen our local community.
Citera said that Cosimo's Restaurant Group is "more committed than ever to supporting the Hudson Valley. We are incredibly proud and remain vigilant in our efforts in the revitalization of the City of Newburgh."
Nikki Khurana-Baugh, vice president for Advancement at the Mount, noted that the college contributes about $21 million annually back to students in the form of aid, and 88 percent of Mount students are dependent on financial aid. "The outpouring of support has truly been inspirational," she said. At $153,000 in donations, "This is by far the most money we have raised at a gala."
She also thanked contributors for the many new scholarships the college has been able to create, including the Catania-Zambito Family Endowed Scholarship; the Nick Citera & Nicolas DiBrizzi Endowed Scholarship; the Karen Eberle-McCarthy Scholarship; the Focused Wealth Management Scholarship; the Rhinebeck Bank Scholarship; and the Unitex Endowed Scholarship.
Joshua Laskowski of Islip Terrace, N.Y., Student Government Association (SGA) president, discussed how the Mount gave him and his classmates many opportunities to grow personally, professionally, and academically, thanks to the scholarships the college affords to deserving students.
"The Mount has taught me... you have to step out of your comfort zone, get involved, and put yourself out there," he said. "But if you do, there's nowhere to go but up."
Michael Horodyski, president and CEO of Wallkill Valley Federal Savings and Loan, and board chair at the Mount, closed out the Gala: "By making a donation, by advocating for the Mount, you play a valuable role in the college's future success."
The college thanked the local leaders who sponsored the event:
- Unitex Healthcare Laundry Services
- Bonura Hospitality Group
- Cosimos Restaurant Group
- Catania, Mahon & Rider, PLLC
- Rhinebeck Bank
- Wallkill Valley Federal Savings and Loan Association
- Bialkin Family Foundation
- I.B.E.W. Local Union No. 363
- M&T Bank
- Montefiore St. Luke's Cornwall Hospital
- RBT CPAs, LLC
- The Misner Agency, Inc.
- William A. Smith and Son, Inc.
- Armistead Mechanical Inc.
- Levine & Levine, PLLC
- Standback General Contractors, LLC
- D-Ben Securities
- Lakeland Bank
- Thomas, Drohan, Waxman, Petigow & Mayle, LLP
- Blacktop Maintenance Corp.
- Daubman Corporate Interiors
- Day Seckler LLP
- Parkhurst Dining Services
- Walden Savings Bank
- Wingstop of Newburgh and Middletown
- Central Hudson Gas & Electric Company
About the honorees
Michael J. Quinn is president and chief executive officer of Rhinebeck Bank. He was appointed as CEO in 2004 and has been a member of the Board of Directors since 2001, when he was president and chief operating officer.
He began his career as a management trainee at Rhinebeck Bank in 1984 and has held various positions, including branch manager, treasurer, and senior lending officer, before being named as president and CEO in 2004.
Quinn provides leadership to the Board of Directors, executive managers, and staff by working with the Board in setting the overall strategic direction, vision, and mission of the organization. Responsible for communicating strategy to the bank's management and staff, as well as monitoring the bank's performance, he takes pride in leading the bank's business direction as well as setting its cultural and philosophical tone.
With a strong commitment to community, Quinn serves on the Board of Directors of Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress, Family Services Inc., and The New York Bankers Association. He has expanded the bank's services and programs into underserved communities in the Hudson Valley and oversees the organization's community support program, which provides financial assistance and volunteers to a wide variety of nonprofit organizations in the region.
Quinn earned a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Notre Dame.
As the principals/partners of Cosimo's Restaurant Group, Nick Citera and Nicolas DiBrizzi have been proud residents of the Hudson Valley since the 1970s. Citera earned a Bachelor of Arts in Business and Marketing from Marist College in 1987. DiBrizzi earned his degree in Business and Finance from Pace University in 2000. Both earned their degrees while consistently working in their family business.
Cosimo's Restaurant Group has created some of the most iconic restaurants in the Hudson Valley, beginning with the original brick oven concept at Cosimo's on Union. Citera and DiBrizzi were instrumental in the revitalization of the Newburgh waterfront as well as the restoration of the historic West Shore Station, which is now the home of The Pizza Shop and Hudson Taco.
After years of involvement in construction and the creation of various commercial projects, Citera and DiBrizzi formed Cosimo's Development Group (CDG) which is mainly focused on commercial real estate. Some notable properties include Shops at Union Square, Village Shoppes, Hyde Park Town Center, North Point Commons, and Greenbaum Square.
Always grateful for the success they have achieved, the owners take every opportunity to give back to the community. Whether it's being strong advocates for the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley for more than 25 years or serving on the Advisory Board for Hudson Valley Restaurant Week, commitment to community and their neighbors is a high priority. In addition, Citera currently serves on the boards of Hospice, the Marist School of Management, and Culinary Institute Society of Fellows.
Their commitment extends to future generations as well, evidenced by the creation of the Cosimo DiBrizzi Scholarship Fund, in association with the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce. This scholarship is awarded to a local high school student who plans to go to the Culinary and shows a passion for the hospitality industry.
Citera resides in Poughkeepsie with Rossana, his wife of 31 years, and their two sons, Gaetano and Nicola. DiBrizzi resides in the Town of Newburgh with his wife Alyssa and two young daughters, Tallulah and Caia.