Mary H. Gresham, Ph.D. Honored with the Robert L. Wilson Award for Exceptional Service and Leadership

BUFFALO (NY) - EPIC – Every Person Influences Children is delighted to announce that Mary H. Gresham, Ph.D. will receive the Robert L. Wilson Award for Exceptional Service and Leadership.
Mary H. Gresham, Ph.D. has dedicated her life to educational support of nontraditional students. In her current role as Interim Dean of the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Maine, more than 40 years of service work at University at Buffalo, as well as numerous volunteer and board commitments to the community, Dr. Gresham embodies the leadership and service qualities that Robert L. Wilson, EPIC’s founder, lived daily. 
“As a leader in the education field, Mary has been an important voice for families, schools and the community at EPIC for more than a decade,“ said Tara N. Burgess, Executive Director. “She has dedicated her life to EPIC and Bob Wilson’s values and we are delighted to present her with the Robert L. Wilson Award for Exceptional Service and Leadership.”
Dr. Gresham reflected on her experiences with EPIC sharing, “My best memory of EPIC was hearing a young man talk about how much he had learned with EPIC's help about being a parent, and how those lessons had helped him get his children back! Parenting is the hardest job and not only is it true that far too many do not have good role models, but it is also true that not everyone is prepared for the job. EPIC understands that and stands ready to teach, train, support and advocate on behalf of those who want to master the challenges of being a parent, all of which also helps one be a better person in general.”
Just prior to retiring from the University at B, Dr. Gresham served as the Vice Provost for Educational Collaboration and Engagement and her responsibilities included: creating a platform for the university’s outreach efforts in the downtown medical corridor; developing policies and opportunities for university-community collaborations, in addition to supervising Millard Fillmore College, the Educational Opportunity Center and the Office for University Preparatory Programs. Immediately prior to serving as vice provost, Dr. Gresham was dean of the UB Graduate School of Education (GSE) for eleven years; there she established a global agenda for GSE, developed the first school counseling master’s degree program in Singapore, introduced online degree programs, and created the Jean M. Alberti Center for the Prevention of Bullying Abuse and School Violence.
Dr. Gresham has spent much of her professional career developing or managing programs that create academic support and access to higher education for nontraditional students. A psychotherapist with expertise in multicultural issues, she holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology. Dr. Gresham is the recipient of numerous awards including the Athena Award from the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Values Award for Diversity from Leadership Buffalo, William Evans/Whitney Young Humanitarian Award from the Buffalo Urban League, and National Sojourner Truth Meritorious Service Award from the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women's Club. She has chaired or served on the boards of an array of community organizations, including EPIC - Every Person Influences Children, Westminster Economic Development Initiative (WEDI), the Buffalo Urban League, the National Federation for Just Communities (NFJC), the American Red Cross (Buffalo Chapter), Nardin Academy and Buffalo Prep, Buffalo Center for Arts and Technology (BCAT- Vice Chair), and the Children’s Foundation of Erie County.
EPIC Heroes Gala Reception Thursday, November 7, 2019
Mary Gresham and other EPIC heroes will be celebrated at the EPIC Heroes Awards Reception on Thursday, November 7, 2019 at 6:00pm at the Atrium @ Rich’s. Major event sponsors include Baillie Lumber Co. L.P. and BlueCross BlueShield. Chairs of the event are Dr. Thomas E. and Susanna Schenk, BlueCross BlueShield and Craig and Lisa Spencer, Rich Products. More information is available at
Other awardees include:
Sandra B. Rifkin, the Lifetime Achievement Award
Raul Vasquez, M.D., Robert M. Bennett Award for Service to Community
State Farm, William B. Hoyt Award for Service to Families
Gloria J. Parks Community Center, Eugene T. Reville Award for Service to Education 
About EPIC                                   
EPIC - Every Person Influences Children’s mission is to help families, schools and communities raise children to become responsible and successful adults. EPIC provides year-round programming in Parenting Education, which includes Ready, Set, Parent! (offering support and solutions for parents of newborns), parenting classes for parents of young children, and young adolescents; Families in Transition (helping individuals facing challenges reach their full potential as parents); and Just for Teens (enhancing the skills and confidence of pregnant and parenting teens) and Family Engagement in Education, encouraging early literacy and building parents' capacity to become more actively involved in their children's education, through programs such as Ready, Set, Read! (developing family literacy and early intervention for children's academic success); and Storytime (fun family literacy-based event). For more information about EPIC, please visit
Robert Wilson, EPIC founder
EPIC was founded by Robert Wilson after his wife, Linda, was murdered by a 15-year-old boy, a neighbor, in 1977. Through his sorrow, Wilson wanted to know why. He explored the boy’s past to find a child who had been abused, neglected, and shuffled between 11 different foster homes. The child’s life was filled with loss, violence and anger; absent was acceptance and love.
The tragic death of his wife, Linda, inspired Wilson to dedicate the “rest of my years” to prevent such heartbreak. His vision created EPIC in 1980, committed to uniting home, school and community to help children become responsible and successful adults.