Dr. Robert J. Buckla has many fond memories of his days at St. Bonaventure—attending epic Bonnie basketball games in the Reilly Center, working at the school’s award-winning radio station and hanging out with friends on 4th Dev West and in the Skeller. One of his most vivid memories, however, centers around his last morning on campus.
“On the day we graduated, the University allowed us to stay one last night,” Rob recalls. “The morning after a night of celebration in Allegany, a group of us rode in a car back to Binghamton. It was very quiet in that car. There was a quiet sadness all around. We were leaving the place that had become home. We wondered if we would ever have an experience like those four years ever again.”
While Rob’s class of 1984 is a tight-knit group (as he states, “I have only one brother through blood, but many brothers and sisters through my St. Bonaventure connection”), he has found his class is not alone in feeling a special bond to one another and their alma mater. “As I have volunteered for the University and Mt. Irenaeus and met other alumni, both older and younger, it is encouraging to find that the genuine warmth and closeness remains the same through the years.”
Rob grew up in Endicott, New York, where his father worked in an IBM factory. Both of his grandfathers were coal miners in Northeast Pennsylvania. “My grandparents had the equivalent of an 8th grade education, and my parents graduated from high school but didn’t have opportunities to attend college,” Rob explains. “I was a typical first generation college student, and the Franciscan education was perfect for me. Thanks to the confidence and superb education I gained at St. Bonaventure, I went on to earn my master’s and doctorate in education from Vanderbilt.”
Today this former Bona Journalism/Mass Communication major works in advancement for another Franciscan educational institution in Milwaukee, Cardinal Stritch University. “The values and standards that were instilled in me at St. Bonaventure are those by which I live my life today,” Rob says. “My working at a Franciscan institution is another way for me to perpetuate the legacy of St. Bonaventure.”
Rob has also decided to perpetuate his connection to St. Bonaventure in another important way. “I have designated a gift to the University in my estate plans,” he notes. “I don’t know what my life would have been like without St. Bonaventure. I could never repay the University for the experience I had and the lifelong friends I’ve made, but with my gift I hope to make sure others can have the same opportunities—particularly first generation college students like myself.
“St. Bonaventure is more than beautiful real estate: it’s a spirit. I hope others who have a warm spot in their heart for St. Bonaventure will also consider making a gift as part of their legacy.”