September 2015 - Canisius Online

Homecoming 2015 was a Huge Success!

Homecoming 2015: Always a Griffin is now in the history books. The annual event was a resounding success, with more than 1,000 Canisius alumni, family and friends participating in the weekend’s activities. Months of planning and hard work culminated in a fantastic series of events. The Friday night Tent Party received rave reviews from those in attendance. Prior to the Tent Party, more than 200 people attended affinity group and class reunions in Science Hall, which included a wine tasting courtesy of 21 Brix Winery and a Flying Bison beer tasting event. Additional weekend highlights included Java with the Jesuits, the Distinguished Alumni Dinner, Fall Fest, Griffs’ athletic events and the Homecoming Mass for alumni, family, students, parents and friends.

Enjoy photos from all Homecoming 2015 events.

Canisius Celebrates Historic Papal Visit

In preparation of the historic visit of Pope Francis to the U.S., the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) invited Jesuit-educated alumni from across the country to share stories of how they were transformed by their Jesuit education in the #JesuitEducated campaign. Below is a sampling from the Canisius community.

Robert Butler, PhD, professor of English 
Michael Hayes, director of campus ministry
Mark Piatkowski, assistant director for student and residence life - Watch the video here.
Read all reflections

The conversation continued at Canisius with a gathering of students and faculty who participated in “Reflections on Pope Francis’ Visit and Encyclical” on September 23. The panel discussion featured faculty members from diverse disciplines and programs who addressed the significance of the Pope’s encyclical and how the Canisius community can respond to the Pontiff’s call for action. Rev. Michael F. Tunney, SJ, director of mission and identity, moderated the panel.

Canisius journalists Christopher Gates ’16, editor-in-chief for The Griffin, and Kyle Ferrara ’16, features editor for the student newspaper, received credentials to cover the Mass of the Canonization of Juniper Serra in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception on September 23 in Washington, D.C. The Mass celebrated Father Juniper Serra, who became the first Hispanic saint recognized by the Church – and the first saint to be canonized on U.S. soil.

View photos of Gates' and Ferrara’s trip here

Read the article they published for The Griffin here.

WIVB-TV Channel 4 caught up with Gates and Ferrara in Washington. Watch the interview here. 

Canisius alumnus Kevin Field ’08, a seminarian at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, MD, was among the select few who served Pope Francis at the Canonization Mass. Read Field’s reflections here.

Back on campus, it was a packed house for the “Pope Watch Party” on September 24 in the Chester HON ’01 & Diane Stranczek Science Hall Commons. Campus Ministry hosted the gathering which attracted nearly 200 faculty, staff and students to watch Pope Francis address a joint meeting of the U.S. Congress. Many members of the campus community stayed after to reflect and discuss the Pontiff’s address. Students and Rev. Michael F. Tunney, SJ, spoke to members of the media – Channels 2, 4, 7, Time Warner Cable and WBFO Radio covered the “Watch Party.”

Click the links below to view media coverage.
Time Warner News
WBFO 88-7

Pope Francis’ U.S. visit culminated in Philadelphia with a Papal Mass. Canisius Director of Campus Ministry Michael Hayes and Associate Professor of English Rev. James Pribek, SJ, led a contingent of 10 Canisius students to Philadelphia to attend Mass for the conclusion of the World Meeting of Families, at Benjamin Franklin Parkway, on Sunday, September 27. St. Joseph’s University hosted the Canisius group during their stay in Philadelphia.

President John J. Hurley was with the students before they departed from campus on Friday, September 25 to wish them well and join in a group prayer.

Local television stations WGRZ-TV and WKBW-TV and Time Warner Cable News covered the send-off. Watch Time Warner’s coverage here.

The Canisius contingent was part of WKBW-TV’s coverage of Western New Yorkers in Philadelphia. Click here to watch. 

See photos of the group’s trip here. 

All students were back from Philadelphia and in class on Monday, September 28. But the excitement and the conversation about the Pope’s historic visit continues on campus and in Canisius classrooms. See more on the Pope’s visit at

Help our students “…set the world on fire”

"I’m thankful for the innumerable opportunities created for undergraduate students by those who so charitably give back to Canisius. As president of the Undergraduate Student Association, I’ve experienced working with faculty, administrators and members of the Board of Trustees. At every level, there is a clear focus on providing students with a quality education centered on advancing the Jesuit ideals in and out of the classroom. Actively engaging students in that mission prepares us for current and future opportunities, and enables us to positively affect the world in which we live." - Rich Kubiak ’16, Economics and Finance

By supporting the Canisius Fund, you help make a Canisius education possible for students, like Rich. And by making a Canisius education possible, you inspire our students to “go forth and set the world on fire.”

Be the spark to our students’ flames by participating in the Canisius Fund’s 2015-16 annual campaign by making a gift today at

Gifts to the Canisius Fund provide essential funding for tuition assistance and scholarships, academic and athletic excellence, and programs that strengthen our Jesuit educational mission.

“Our Second Genome” is Subject of Schreiner Distinguished Speaker Series

The Dr. George E. Schreiner ’43 Pre-Medical Center Distinguished Speaker Series at Canisius College will welcome Robert J. Genco ‘60, DDS, PhD, to campus on Thursday, October 8. Genco’s lecture, entitled “Our Second Genome: The Human Microbiome and its Role in Health and Disease,” takes place at 7:00 p.m. in the Chester HON ’01 and Diane Stranczek Science Hall Commons, located on Main Street between Delavan and Jefferson avenues. The event is free and open to the public.

Genco is a Distinguished Professor of Oral Biology, and Microbiology and Immunology at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He is also vice provost and director of UB’s Office of Science, Technology Transfer and Economic Outreach, which facilitates the transfer of UB discoveries into economic enterprises.

Genco has conducted pioneering studies surrounding the role of infections in increasing the risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke. His early work established smoking, diabetes mellitus, obesity, low dietary calcium, osteoporosis and stress as risk factors for periodontal infections. Genco also studied tissue engineering as applied to periodontal and implant surgery. For 30-plus years, he directed the Clinical Research Center and served on two FDA panels. Genco has also published more than 350 papers and edited 11 texts. He holds 11 patents.

Genco earned a BS from Canisius College; a DDS, cum laude, from the University at Buffalo; and a PhD in microbiology and immunology from the University of Pennsylvania. He also holds an honorary doctorate degree from Georgetown University.

Click here to read more about Robert Genco.

The GRIFF NATION App is Here

The strength of the Canisius Alumni Network (CAN) just became stronger! Connect with fellow alumni using the GRIFF NATION app for your iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad or Android device. Powered by EverTrue, the app provides another way to connect with fellow alums and keep up to date on the latest alumni news. No matter where you live or how busy you are, your Canisius classmates will be just a click away.  Simply do a search in the app store for “EverTrue” and then look for Canisius.  

Canisius Community Members Named to “40 Under 40” List

Congratulations to eight Canisius College alumni named to Business First’s “40 Under 40” list. They are:

  • Timothy Ball ’01, corporation counsel, city of Buffalo
  • Lorenda Chisolm ’99, MS ’04, MSEd ’10, principal, Northtowns Academy, Erie 1 BOCES
  • Danielle Cook MS ’11, executive director, Children’s Growth Foundation/The Center for Psychosexual Health
  • Jennifer Farrell ’98, attorney/partner, Farrell & Farrell
  • Jerilyn Hickey ’98, chief development officer, Girl Scouts of Western New York
  • Erin Johnson MBA ’10, coach and workforce strategist, RV Rhodes LLC
  • Janet McNally ’02, assistant professor of English and creative writing, Canisius College
  • Christopher Ware ’04, controller, EduKids

The “40 Under 40” list features Buffalo-area leaders who have made an impact at an early age. Since the program’s inception in 1992, the goal of the “40 Under 40” list is to identify 40 men and women — under the age of 40 — who are successful in their professions and are heavily involved in community activities. More than 160 nominations were received this year, and the class was selected by a six-person panel of former recipients. Honorees will be recognized at The Grapevine Banquets on November 5.

To see the complete list, click here.

Alumnus Heads Research Group on Spinal Immobilization

Joseph Bart ’03, MD, an emergency room physician at Erie County Medical Center, led an advisory group that investigated the use of a neck collar, head blocks and tape to secure an injured person’s head to a backboard. Following an extensive study, the group’s report led to the abolition of the rule that required this common emergency medical procedure in New York State. Its findings discovered that it can do more harm than good. Read more about Bart and the group’s research here.

Alumna Releases First Book of Poems

Janet McNally ’02, assistant professor of English and creative writing at Canisius, released Some Girls, her first book of poems. The collection of poems, inspired by the birth of her first daughter, was selected as winner of the 2014 White Pine Press Poetry contest. Read more about Some Girls here. 

Ponticello ’91 Authors Award-Winning Book

Laura Ponticello ’91 is the recipient of a National Association of Book Entrepreneurs’ 2015 Pinnacle Achievement Award (inspirational category) for her book Live the Life of Your Dreams: 33 Tips for Inspired Living.

Ponticello is a thought leader and professional coach for best-selling authors, business leaders, national speakers and writers. She is nationally known for her presentation “Five Secrets to Build a Buzz around Your Book or Business” and has been featured by Six Sigma and in a variety of national publications.

Ponticello graduated in 1991 with degrees in anthropology and sociology. She previously worked as a human resources executive for multi-national Fortune 500 companies.