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Phillips Stevens Jr., Ph.D, associate professor of anthropology at the University at Buffalo was honored this month in Igbomina Yoruba, Town of Esie in southwest Nigeria. The traditional ruler of the town, HRM Oba Yakubu Babalola, bestowed on him the Yoruba chieftaincy title “The Erewumi of Esie Kingdom.”

“Erewumi” means “I get along well with the images,” and it recognizes Stevens’ work to preserve and celebrate the stone images of Esie, Africa’s largest collections of stone statuary. His efforts put Esie on the map and provided an economic boon for the town that continues to this day.

Stevens’ relationship with Esie began almost 50 years ago after a 1963-64 teaching assignment in the Peace Corps. Working for Nigeria’s Department of Antiquities, now the National Commission for Museums and Monuments, he documented, catalogued and helped repair a collection of 1,000 fragile, carved soapstone figures that were falling to ruin and helped build a new museum in which to house them. He lived and worked there until May 1966, when he returned to enter the graduate program in anthropology at Northwestern University.

In his 1978 book, “The Stone Images of Esie, Nigeria,” Stevens writes that the images “are of unknown origin and purpose and continue to be regarded as one of the continent’s great mysteries. They represent men, women, children and animals, and range in height from about 5 inches to nearly 4 feet.”

Stevens’ research, teaching and writing focuses on religion and cultural change and the anthropology of West Africa and the Caribbean.

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B.U.I.L.D. of Buffalo Inc. (Build-Unity-Independence-Liberty-Dignity) announced the appointment of its board and new leadership team. Buffalo City Court Judge Thomas P. Amodeo presided over the formal installation in the offices of Damon Morey in downtown Buffalo.

Elected officers are: president, Charley H. Fisher III, senior administrative clerk, Erie County Legislature; vice president, Russell Smith, community volunteer; and secretary/treasurer, Anne Evans, partner, Damon Morey.

Appointed members of the board of directors are: Avery T. Bates, CEO, Bates Consulting Services; Anthony Billoni, director, Erie-Niagara Tobacco-Free Coalition; Michael Brown, firefighter with the Buffalo Fire Department; Lesley Haynes, community volunteer; Mary Ruth Kapsiak, president of the Buffalo Board of Education; Kimberly Minkel, executive director of the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority; Dr. Kunle Odunsi, chairman of the Department of Gynecologic Oncology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute; and Linwood Roberts, Neighborhood Outreach coordinator, University at Buffalo.

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A Batavia couple who 20 years ago founded a soup kitchen to feed the poor was honored recently with the 28th annual Genesee County Health and Humanitarian Award.

Edward and Beverly Corcoran, founders of Stephen’s Table at Assembly of God Church, are credited with providing noon meals to nearly 2,000 needy people every year. Their efforts include soliciting businesses for food.

The award for volunteer service is given by the Jerome Foundation, headed by Justin D. Calarco-Smith, and the United Memorial Medical Center Foundation’s Christopher White.

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D’Youville College has named Charles J. Urlaub to its board of trustees for a three-year term. He is president and chief executive officer of Mercy Hospital of Buffalo, a position he has held since 2007.

Prior to his appointment, he was with the Catholic Healthcare Partners System, headquartered in Cincinnati, where he held a number of positions, including chief administrative officer at Mercy Hospital in Scranton, Pa., and interim president at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Warren, Ohio.

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William J. Loeffler IV, clinical assistant professor in the School of Pharmacy at D’Youville College, has been named Educator/Preceptor of the Year for 2012 by the New York State Chapter of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy. The award was presented at the chapter’s annual conference in Albany.

Loeffler joined the pharmacy faculty at D’Youville in 2010 and is a member of the Buffalo General Medical Center’s Congestive Heart Failure Initiative Team. He is a member of the Western New York Society of Health System Pharmacy, the New York State Chapter of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy, and the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy.

A 2007 graduate of the University at Buffalo School of Pharmacy, Loeffler completed his residency at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

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The Hillery Foundation honored friends of Bishop Timon-St. Jude High School at its annual awards reception at Lucarelli’s Banquet Facility.

Honorees are: Mark Cassidy of Hamburg, (Class of 1977); Joe and Patricia Crowley of Buffalo, (Class of 1953); Jack Devine of Cheektowaga, (Class of 1954); Tom Graham of East Aurora, (Class of 1959); Jack Jerge of Buffalo, (Class of 1952); and Tom McDonnell of Buffalo, (Class of 1986).

The Judge John D. Hillery Memorial Scholarship Foundation was conceived and dedicated by Gerald A. Whalen, Class of 1961, as a living memorial to a humanitarian and true friend of the school.

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Helen M. Domske of Buffalo, a New York Sea Grant coastal education specialist, received an Outstanding Outreach Award for public education programming related to the “Dose of Reality” campaign on the proper disposal of pharmaceuticals and personal care products to prevent the release of toxins into the Great Lakes.

Domske authored “Undo the Environmental Chemical Brew: Keep Unwanted Medications & Chemicals Out of the Great Lakes.”

The publication covers the impact of such substances as antibiotics, antidepressants, birth control pills, cosmetics, and even vitamins on the freshwater Great Lakes system that supplies drinking water to 42 million people.

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Buffalo native Trevor M. Fuller won a seat as a Mecklenburg County commissioner at large in the recent general election in Charlotte, N.C.

A 1985 graduate of Nichols School, Trevor graduated from Hamilton College in 1989 and earned a J.D. from Georgetown University Law School in 1992. He is an attorney and senior partner for his firm Fuller and Barnes in Charlotte.

Fuller, a first-time Democratic candidate, is past president of the John S. Leary Bar Association of Black Lawyers and a member of board of governors for North Carolina Advocates for Justice.

email: citydesk@buffnews.com