January 2016 - Canisius Online

2016 Commencement Speakers

Canisius College is pleased to announce the commencement speakers for the Class of 2016.

Rev. James Martin, SJ, will address the undergraduate class on Saturday, May 21 at 10:00 a.m. Father Martin is an internationally-renowned author, speaker and editor-at-large of America, the national Catholic magazine.

Terrance McGuire, a founding partner of Polaris Partners, will address the graduate class on Wednesday, May 18 at 7:00 p.m. A venture capitalist, McGuire is best known for his work commercializing academic research, particularly in the life sciences.

Click here to read more about the speakers.

Canisius will confer honorary doctorate degrees upon McGuire and Father Martin during commencement ceremonies, which will be held in the Koessler Athletic Center.

Also receiving honorary degrees are Edwin Mirand, PhD, DSc (doctor of science), vice president emeritus for educational affairs at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) and a former senior advisor to five previous RPCI presidents; Michael S. Taheri, a partner in the law firm of Taheri and Todoro PC and a lay missionary at St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy; and Joseph Sr. and Shirley Basil, the retired founders and owners of the Basil Automotive Group.

Canisius Receives Prestigious Lilly Grant

Canisius is one of a select group of private four-year colleges and universities across the nation to receive a grant from the Lilly Endowment. Canisius received $583,000 to establish the Be the Light Youth Theology Institute at the college.

The award is part of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s High School Youth Theology Institutes initiative, which seeks to encourage young people to explore theological traditions, ask questions about the moral dimensions of contemporary issues and examine how their faith calls them to lives of service.

“The creation of this institute is an opportunity for us to express more deeply our commitment to our Catholic, Jesuit identity,” says Canisius President John J. Hurley. “It will help us respond to Pope Francis’ priorities for the Jesuits and their works around the world: promotion of Jesuit spirituality, experiences with peoples at the periphery of society and vocation promotion.”

The institute will welcome high school students entering their junior and senior years to campus as part of a week-long residential learning experience.

Click here to learn more about the Lilly Grant.

Professor Angelini Awarded Fulbright

The United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board selected Eileen M. Angelini, PhD, professor of French at Canisius College, for a Fulbright Specialist project at the University of Manitoba in Canada.

Angelini worked on the project “Francophone Culture: Literature, Pedagogy and Additional Language Acquisition,” during her stay at the university from January 3 – 16. She collaborated on the project with faculty and graduate students in the Department of French, Spanish and Italian in the Faculty of Arts, and education students and faculty in the Faculty of Education from the University of Manitoba and the Université de St. Boniface. She also gave public lectures and participated in community outreach at l’École St. Avilia, a French-immersion school.

Angelini is one of more than 400 U.S. faculty and professionals who have or will travel abroad this year through the Fulbright Specialist Program. Created in 2000 to complement the traditional Fulbright Scholar Program, the Fulbright Specialist Program provides short-term academic opportunities (two to six weeks) to prominent U.S. faculty and professionals to support curricular and faculty development and institutional planning at post-secondary, academic institutions around the world.

Click here to read more about Dr. Eileen Angelini’s Fulbright.

Rev. Michael Tunney, SJ, Appointed Rector at Fairfield University

Rev. Michael Tunney, SJ, has been appointed by the Superior General of the Jesuits to become the rector of the Fairfield Jesuit community. He will assume his new role July 1, 2016.

A longstanding member of the Canisius community, Father Tunney has served as professor of fine arts and director of that program, as rector of the Canisius Jesuit community and for the past five years as the college’s first director of Mission & Identity. He has been an active supporter of the sacramental and liturgical work of Campus Ministry and the Alumni Association. He has also been of great service to the Diocese of Buffalo in his adjunct roles with St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy and St. Joseph’s University Church.

The Canisius community wishes Father Tunney well in his new assignment.

Trying to Locate a Long Lost Canisius Classmate?

No matter where you are or how busy your schedule, former Canisius classmates are now just a click away with the new GRIFFNATION app.

Powered by EverTrue, the GRIFFNATION app is supported by iPhones and Androids, and available to all Canisius alumni. Features include an alumni directory that enables you to search by name, class year, company or graduate school. You’ll also have access to the alumni and college events calendars.

So what are you waiting for? Simply click here and you’re on your way to reconnecting with your former Canisius classmates.

Adopt a Student Program

Rebecca Krakowiak ’15 participated in the 2012 service-immersion experience to India.

More than 50 Canisius students will take part in one of the college’s 2016 International Service-Immersion Experiences this summer, journeying to locations around the globe to live out the Jesuit ideals of men and women with and for others.

This year’s international service-immersion trips include experiences in Jamaica, El Salvador, Poland, and India, where Canisius students will work with people who have suffered from war, hunger, neglect, discrimination and poverty. Students will be challenged to live simply, ask difficult questions about the injustices of the world, deepen their faith and spirituality, and serve others.

Students are excited to embark on this transformative experience but they need your help! Student participants are expected to raise funds to cover the cost of their experiences. This year, alumni, friends, and faculty and staff have the opportunity to support a specific student, team or service-immersion experience through the Adopt a Student program, offered through the Office of Campus Ministry. Your support of the program with a gift of any size will ensure all interested students are able to participate in this life-enhancing experience.

Click here to make a gift and learn more about the Adopt a Student program and the students who will directly benefit from your generosity. 

Master Your Finances

Canisius is rolling out a new program to help students and alumni master their finances. The college recently partnered with SALT, a non-profit educational resource that empowers individuals to confidently approach and manage their current finances, while gaining financial skills for life. 

SALT offers student loan repayment options, one-on-one repayment counseling with student loan experts, budgeting tools to manage federal student loans, and much more.

Canisius joins a growing number of colleges and universities that are using SALT to educate and counsel borrowers. All members of the college community are encouraged to sign up for this valuable – and free – service.

For more information, contact Sean Hudson, assistant director of student financial services at Canisius College, at Or, sign up for SALT services at

Canisius Celebrates Mid-1990s Men’s Basketball

John Beilein, one of the most popular and successful basketball coaches in Canisius history, returned to his roots on January 24 when the Canisius Athletics Department celebrated one of the greatest three-year runs in men’s basketball program history prior to the Golden Griffin’s game against MAAC rival Siena.

Coach John Bielein (left) at center court, alongside Canisius President John J. Hurley (center) and Canisius Athletics Director Bill Maher ’89.

The college paid tribute to the 1993-94, 1994-95 and 1995-96 men’s basketball teams, during a brunch and meet-and-greet event. Combined, these teams earned a total of 62 victories, two berths into the NIT, including a run to the Final Four in 1995, the 1994 MAAC regular season championship and the 1996 MAAC Tournament title, and an appearance in the 1996 NCAA Division I men’s basketball tournament.

Coach John Bielein (center) joins the players, trainers and administrators from the 1994, 1995 and 1996 men’s basketball program during halftime.

Nearly every player and all the coaches from that era of the men’s basketball program attended including Beilein and Canisius Sports Hall of Famers Darrell Barley, Micheal Meeks, Javone “Bam” Moore and Craig Wise.

Click here to view photos from the event.

Share in Your Devotion

Share in the spiritual and social advantages of having a Catholic, Jesuit education by becoming a member of the Alumni Sodality group at Canisius.

The religious aim of the Sodality remains the same as when it was founded at Canisius in 1896: To foster in its members an ardent devotion, reverence and love towards the Blessed Virgin Mary.

The Alumni Sodality is open to all Catholic men and women of “liberal learning,” and meets on the first Sunday of every month from October through May. Members pray the Rosary, celebrate Mass and recite special Sodality prayers. There is also an opportunity to attend the Sacrament of Reconciliation. Following the services, members enjoy breakfast and a brief lecture, which is often presented by a member of the community.

WGRZ-TV anchor Mary Alice Demler will be the featured speaker at the Alumni Sodality’s next meeting, scheduled for Sunday, February 7. She will discuss her visit with Pope Francis in Philadelphia last year. Demler will speak at 9:00 a.m. in the Faculty Dining Room, Richard E. Winter ’42 Student Center, following the 8:00 a.m. Mass in Christ the King Chapel. The cost for breakfast is $12 per person.

To learn more or to join the Canisius Alumni Sodality, contact Paul Becker ’53 at (716) 835-7826.

Canisius Commemorates Black History Month

The Department of Academic Talent Search (ATS) is holding its annual Canisius College Black History Month event on Thursday, February 25. The program, which is free and open to the public, will take place at the Buffalo Convention Center from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. More than 700 students from area schools are expected to attend.

This year’s keynote speaker is civil and human rights leader, former NAACP president, venture capitalist and author, Benjamin Jealous. Jealous was the youngest-ever national leader of the NAACP and earned accolades from Forbes and Time magazines for reviving the organization. ATS will also have workshops and informational stations set up from various organizations. Topics include educational and career opportunities, financial literacy and mental health.

The ATS is one of five federally funded Trio programs that provide educational, social and career support services to approximately 600 youths recruited from area schools and community service organizations.

To learn more about the event, contact the Academic Talent Search office at (716) 888-3280.

David Nalewajek ’74, PhD, to Receive Crowdle Award

David Nalewajek '74, PhD, research fellow for Honeywell International Inc., will receive the James H. Crowdle Award on Friday, February 26 at 6:30 p.m. in the college’s Grupp Fireside Lounge. Presented by the Canisius Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and the student chapter of the American Chemical Society, the award is given for distinction in chemistry.

A synthetic fluorine chemist, Nalewajek’s work focuses on synthesizing and developing environmentally safer replacements for chlorofluorcarbons.

Professor Crowdle was an outstanding member of the college’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry for more than 40 years, most of which he served as chair. He was a powerful force in the creation of many campus-wide institutions; he co-founded The Griffin and he founded the DiGamma Honor Society.

If you would like to attend the Crowdle Award ceremony, please contact Alice Steltermann at (716) 888-2340.

You’re Invited to Commemorate 100 years of ROTC service at Military Ball

The Canisius College Military Science Department cordially invites alumni of the program to its Golden Griffin Battalion Military Ball. Scheduled for Friday, May 6, from 5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. at Lockport Canalside, the evening will commemorate 100 years of service by the Reserve Officers' Training Corps (ROTC). The ROTC program has been the foundation for providing education, training and inspiration to cadets who pursue commissioning in the United States Army.

Since 1951, more than a thousand Canisius graduates have earned their commissioning in the United States Armed Forces.

For more information or to purchase tickets ($50 per person), contact Major Stephen Ang at or at 716-888-3249.

Come Serve in New Orleans

Meg Wierchowski ’10, DO (foreground) and Kimberly Pepe ’10 help to rebuild a home in New Orleans

Campus Ministry invites Canisius alumni to participate in its popular service and immersion program in New Orleans. The program runs from May 23 - May 29 (dates are flexible), during which time participants will partner with the St. Bernard Project to repair and renovate homes damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Participants will also visit with New Orleans’ homeless and serve lunch at a drop-in center.
“Many families are still not back in their homes after Katrina,” says Joe Van Volkenburg ’88, campus minister and organizer of the trip. “There is still a great need.”

No experience is necessary to participate in this service and immersion experience - only a desire to live simply, spiritually and in solidarity.

“It's always a great week,” says Tim Blewett ’67. “We live out what the Jesuits taught us, which is to serve others in need and contribute to our community. We come back renewed and transformed.”

"My participation in the alumni service program to New Orleans has meant so much to me during my time in medical school and residency,” adds Megan Wierchowski ’10, DO. “These trips have been a great way for me to put my life back in perspective. They have allowed me to continue service after college, meet new people, develop new skills and focus on spirituality.”

The cost to participate in the trip is $300, which includes housing and most meals. Participants are responsible for their own transportation to New Orleans.

Click here for more information.

Registration for Summer Science Camp Now Open

The Canisius Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry invites alumni to take advantage of its annual Summer Science Camp for kids. Open to children entering grades 5-8, this week-long camp engages students, each day, in several broadly defined science topics, which they explore through hands-on activities. 

This year’s Summer Science Camp at Canisius will take place August 8 – 12, from 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. (Early drop-off and late pick-up options are available). The cost is $210 and includes lunch, daily.

Click here for more information or to register, or visit Summer Science Camp on Facebook

Governor Designates Canisius Alumnus a Presiding Judge

Gerald J. Whalen ‘79 was designated by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo as presiding justice for the Appellate Division for the Fourth Judicial Department, which encompasses 22 counties.

"Justice Whalen has always sought to uphold the principles of our justice system and ensure that every New Yorker is treated fairly before it,” said Gov. Cuomo. “His strong legal background and even more impressive character is a prime example of what we look for on the bench."

Click here to read more about Justice Whalen.

Alumnus Quoted in National Fitness Magazine

Charles J. Pelitera ’80, MS ’90, EdD, assistant professor of kinesiology and coordinator of health and wellness at Canisius College, talks about how to protect yourself when exercising in cold weather in the January/February issue of Shape Magazine.

Click here to read the article in its entirety.

Tom Wolf ’86 Featured in AJCU Connections

The Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) featured Thomas A. Wolf ’86 in its December edition of Connections. The issue celebrated the arts on Jesuit campuses. Wolf, an adjunct professor of fine arts/studio arts at Canisius, was recognized for the ways in which he integrates the Jesuit mission into his travel photography course.

Click here to read the story.

Matthew J. Jasen ’37 Remembered by Historical Society of NY Courts

December 13, 2015 would have marked the 100th birthday of the late Hon. Matthew J. Jasen ’37. Judge Jasen served as an associate judge of the New York State Court of Appeals for 18 years. A strong voice on the court, he authored nearly 430 majority and 280 dissenting opinions during his tenure.

Judge Jasen’s legacy is now chronicled in the Historical Society of the New York Courts. Written by Mike Powers, a former law clerk of Judge Jasen and partner with Phillips Lytle LLP, the biography provides an excellent overview of one of Canisius’ most distinguished alumni.

Click here to read the biography in its entirety.

Canisius Alumni Selected to Serve as Cabinet Members to Superintendent Cash

Five Canisius College alumni are among the eight individuals selected by Buffalo School Superintendent Kriner Cash to assist him in turning around the city’s struggling schools. The new Canisius “cabinet” members are current and former high-profile administrators. They are Anne K. Botticelli ’95, Darren Brown MBA ’00, Sabatino Cimato MA ’02, Kevin Eberle MS ’92, James Weimer ’86, MS ’99.

Click here to read more about these new cabinet members.