Niagara County Community College Trustee Emeritus F. Robert “Bob” Sdao died Thursday, the college announced.
Sdao served as a governor’s appointed trustee of Niagara County Community College for two consecutive terms from 1996 through 2011. He was named an emeritus trustee by the Board of Trustees in 2013; the first such appointment ever bestowed upon a retired trustee in the history of the college.
“Bob will be terribly missed by all of us. He was an active proponent of making post-secondary education accessible to students of all ages, from all walks of life. He actively participated in the development of the College’s Strategic Plan and had long been a proponent of maintaining low tuition costs," said NCCC President Dr. James Klyczek. "Bob was a true pioneer trustee and was passionately dedicated to NCCC. He served on the President’s Advisory Committee on two major college initiatives including the development of the college’s first student housing complex, and the development of the Niagara Falls Culinary Institute.”
Sdao served as the vice chairperson of the board of trustees from 2005 to 2010 and the secretary of the board from 1997 to 2005 and 2010 to 2011.
In addition to serving 12 years as a member of the board of directors of the Niagara County Community College Foundation, Sdao participated extensively in the Foundation’s Major Gifts Campaign and more than once he and his wife, Geri, served as chairs of the NCCC Foundation Scholarship Gala. The generosity to the NCCC Foundation by Sdao and his wife Geri is reflected in an endowed scholarship named for their late son Michael Robert Sdao. The Board of Trustees Board Room is named in his honor. The Sdaos were also charter members of the NCCC Presidential Partners program to raise money for student scholarships.
In addition to service on the Board of Trustees and the Foundation Board, Mr. Sdao served 11 years as a member of the College Association of NCCC, Inc. Board of Directors, and vigorously participated in community philanthropy and political affairs. He was a 1998 recipient of the Distinguished Honoree Philanthropy Award from the National Society of Fund Raising Executives (WNY Chapter), was a Member of the Board of Directors of the “Alternative to Incarceration” Program at the Trott Access Center in Niagara Falls from (1993-1997), served as a volunteer for the Niagara Falls Festival of Lights (1993-1996) and the Niagara Falls Chamber of Commerce Annual Great American Steakout (1993-1996).
After graduating from Niagara Falls High School in 1946, Sdao attended the Erie County and Niagara County Police Academies. In 1950, his love of airplanes influenced him to join the United States Air Force Reserves during the Korean War. Sdao continued his public service as a patrolman with the Niagara Frontier State Park Police, the Patrol Deputy and Road Sergeant for the Niagara County Sherriff’s Department and was later appointed the Police Commissioner of the Town/Village of Lewiston. He joined the Security Department at NCCC in 1973, eventually becoming the college’s senior security officer in 1988. During his time in the security department at NCCC, Sdao considered one of his most important assignments to be that of mentor to the students.