Frank J. Cerny, MDiv., Ph.D., board chairman of the Rural Outreach Center (ROC), was honored Thursday evening as the recipient of the UB Alumni Association’s Leadership Award. A reception was held in the UB Center for the Arts on the university’s North Campus.
Located at 730 Olean Road in East Aurora, the mission of the Rural Outreach Center is to assist, empower and elevate the impoverished rural population in southern Erie County and surrounding areas. The nonprofit organization does this through numerous community outreach initiatives including a health services programs, household goods redistribution center, free monthly community dinners, nutritious snack packs for kids, a reading readiness program, mentoring services, financial coaching, employment assistance and more.
“Our alumni make amazing things happen around the world,” notes the UB Alumni Association’s website. “Alumni accomplishments significantly benefit both society and our university community, advancing the common good and inspiring others with passion and creativity. Each year, the UB Alumni Association recognizes a group of outstanding alumni and friends for their achievements and bringing distinction to UB.”
Cerny’s biography gives testament to his lifelong commitment to community service. After helping establish a children’s lung center at Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, he joined the UB faculty in the School of Public Health and Health Professions, eventually becoming chair of the physical therapy, exercise and nutrition sciences department. His research led to global recognition that physical activity should be part of standard care for patients suffering from cystic fibrosis. He retired from UB in 2004.
Having completed a master’s of divinity degree, Cerny then became pastor of Pathways Christian Fellowship, which founded the Rural Outreach Center that now serves hundreds of rural residents residing in Western New York.
For more information on the Rural Outreach Center and its many services, please call 240-2220 or follow the Rural Outreach Center on Facebook for frequent updates.