Wegmans School of Nursing Honors Graduates, Golisano Foundation’s Ann Costello

May 12, 2023

The Wegmans School of Nursing at St. John Fisher University conferred baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degrees on more than 200 graduates during its Commencement ceremony on Friday, May 12. The University also bestowed a President’s Medal upon Ann Costello, executive director of the Golisano Foundation, for her leadership and advocacy for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

A doctoral candidate is hooded during the Wegmans School of Nursing ceremony.

For more than 40 years, Costello has worked in the non-profit sector, primarily in human service administration, philanthropy, and organizational policy development. In 1999, she joined the Golisano Foundation, one of the nation’s leading foundations dedicated exclusively to helping individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Foundation was established in 1985 by Tom Golisano, the founder and chairman of Paychex, Inc., a leader in the payroll, human resource, and benefits outsourcing industry.

Since joining the Foundation, which has grown in total Foundation assets and annual distribution of funds, she has redefined the Foundation’s role in the intellectual disabilities service arena as proactive partner and catalyst for transformation. Under her leadership, the Foundation has supported and launched innovative partnerships and programs including the Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing at the Wegmans School of Nursing.

President's Medal recipient Ann Costell addresses the graduates.

“The disparities in health care among individuals with IDD are well documented. Millions of people—our most vulnerable citizens—fall through the cracks of complex health systems and don’t have access to basic health care,” said Costello. “About 10 years ago, the Golisano Foundation began to imagine what heath care should be and can be for people with developmental disabilities. The work of the Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing—the first of its kind in the country—represents an important step forward in alleviating some of those disparities and suffering, and helping the Foundation advance its work toward inclusive health. We always believed St. John Fisher was uniquely positioned to lead this charge.”

Costello went on to remind the graduates of the critical role they will play when working with this underserved population.

“The impact of your vision, caring, and hard work will live on through the quality health care you provide to people in need around the globe that is life-changing and lifesaving,” she said.

During the ceremony, doctoral candidates were given their hoods, and undergraduate students were presented with the Wegmans School of Nursing pin, a traditional symbol of the profession. The graduates also recited the Wegmans School of Nursing pledge.

Carly Rogers, a graduate of the School’s mental health counseling program, delivered remarks on behalf of the graduates.

“The future of health care is integrated, with mental health and physical health sharing equal priority by providers in the systems that support them,” Rogers said. “As graduates of the Wegmans School of Nursing at St. John Fisher University, you are especially well positioned to be leaders in this care. Together, I know we will.”