Legislator Dixon names Hilbert Dean of Graduate Studies November Citizen of the Month

Release Date:
November 30, 2012
Matt Heidt,

HAMBURG, N.Y. – Erie County Legislator Lynne Dixon chose two outstanding Hamburg residents as November’s Citizens of the Month. During the Nov. 29, 2012 session, Legislator Dixon presented a proclamation to Walter and Mary Iwanenko in recognition of the countless hours they have given to the community through various endeavors. Dr. Walter Iwanenko is Dean of Graduate Studies and professor of public administration at Hilbert College.

Most recently, the Iwanenkos served as project managers, overseeing the building of a community playground at Baker Victory Services-Child Pro in the City of Lackawanna. The Iwanenkos coordinated with Hilbert students and hundreds of volunteers, and worked diligently to complete the project in one day. Sponsored by the Buffalo Bills, KaBoom! and the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council in Western New York, the playground is a symbol of community spirit.

“On the day of the playground building, the site was very busy but very well organized. Even when Mother Nature didn’t cooperate, with downpours falling on the site throughout the afternoon, everything ran smoothly thanks to Walter and Mary’s leadership. Many different groups and individuals came together and seamlessly built not just a playground but a place where families can safely bring their kids and youths can enjoy being outside, getting exercise. Walter and Mary are true stewards of the community and their efforts can be seen throughout the community. I want to thank them for their dedication and it is my honor to name them the November 2012 Erie County Legislature Citizens of the Month,” said Legislator Dixon.

“It takes a village to raise a child and it took a community to build a playground. When you can gather over 200 volunteers in the pouring rain for one day to build a playground for families in our community, you know the spirit of service lives in Western New York. Our efforts to educate our children and young adults through service goes beyond classroom learning, it is life learning, it is teaching the values of respect and compassion for others,” said the Iwanenkos.

The Iwanenkos are also involved in Empire West Little Loop Football, Lackawanna Mayor’s Economic Development Council, Lackawanna Housing Development Council, Erie County Early Intervention Program, Our Lady of Victory, the Lackawanna Food Pantry, the Chamber of Commerce and MS Society.

The Erie County Legislature introduced the Citizen of the Month Award in January 2012 to honor residents from each of the 11 Districts who have gone above and beyond to serve Erie County.



Hilbert College, located in suburban Hamburg, N.Y., south of Buffalo, is a private four-year college founded in 1957 in the Catholic Franciscan tradition. With nearly 1,100 students, Hilbert is a dynamic Western New York college that offers career-focused majors, including one of the top criminal justice programs in the region, and more than 50 minors and concentrations. The college’s engaging, student-centered campus community offers numerous leadership, internship, and service learning opportunities from which students launch successful careers while making positive changes in their communities. The Hilbert Blueprint promotes a well-rounded student experience over four years – starting with the Foundations Seminar in the freshman year, followed by Sophomore Service, Junior Symposium, and culminating with the Senior Capstone. Hilbert has expanded its academic offerings with the college’s first graduate programs and new Accelerated Degree Programs geared to adult learners.