June 2016 - Canisius Online

Griffin Statue to be Dedicated During Homecoming Weekend

You are invited to attend the dedication of our new Golden Griffin statue on Friday, September 23 at 4 p.m. during Homecoming Weekend!  Homecoming is the perfect time to celebrate and dedicate our Griffin as we welcome back hundreds of Griffs to alma mater. The 1,500-pound bronze Griffin landed on campus last month.  He prominently and permanently nests along Main Street outside of Science Hall.   Hjckrrh!  

Make your plans now to join all of the festivities during Homecoming Weekend, which will be held from Thursday, September 22 – Sunday, September 25, and reconnect with classmates, share memories and see what’s happening on campus.

The Favorite Professor event kicks off Homecoming Weekend on Thursday night in the Chester HON ’01 & Diane Stranczek Science Hall Commons.  It’s a great opportunity to catch up with your former professors and tour beautiful Science Hall.

After the Griffin statue dedication on Friday, head inside to the Science Hall Commons area at 5:30 p.m. to celebrate milestone years including 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2011. The following affinity groups will also host events during this time: International Students, UNITY, All-College Honors, Club Football, Counseling and Human Services, College Student Personnel and Women of Canisius.

Everyone is welcome to attend the Science Hall event but there is a charge of $5 for guests who are not in an affinity group or celebrating their reunion years.

The popular Tent Party in the Quad begins at 7 p.m. with food, music and dancing.

On Saturday, the events continue with Java with the Jesuits, campus tours, Fall Fest for children of all ages, and the Family and Alumni Mass. Cap off the day at the Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner in the Montante Cultural Center (Read more below).

Wrap up the weekend on Sunday with an Architectural Pedal Tour of Buffalo, which showcases the city’s amazing architectural gems, or catch volleyball against Rider at the Koessler Athletic Center.

Not part of a reunion class or affinity group? No worries! ALL Canisius College alumni are invited to attend Homecoming Weekend.  

For a complete list of events and activities or to register for Homecoming Weekend, click here.

Distinguished Alumni Named

Celebrate the accomplishments of your fellow Canisius graduates at the 2016 Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner on Saturday, September 24 at 6 p.m. in the Montante Cultural Center. Six distinguished alumni will be honored for demonstrating leadership and making significant contributions to their chosen professions.

This year’s recipients represent diverse backgrounds including academia, business, healthcare and domestic violence advocacy. All have enriched society and humanity through their chosen careers.  The following individuals will be honored:

-    Michael Coppola ’70, president, chief executive officer and chair, Advance Auto Parts
-    Nora McGuire MBA ’08, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Independent Health
-    Ronald Raccuia ’90, president, ADPRO Sports Inc.
-    Kenneth Sroka ’65, PhD, retired professor of English, Canisius College
-    Mary Travers Murphy ’80, executive director, Family Justice Center

Thank You Canisius Fund Donors

The college’s 2015-16 annual campaign concluded on May 31 with $2,824,144.40 in commitments, 5,742 donors and 869 Leadership Society members.  The college celebrated an increase of 690 donors and 53 Leadership Society members as compared to last year.  

Canisius College’s inaugural Giving Day on April 27 played a pivotal role in the spike in donors overall.  However, it is the total participation of our alumni, parents, friends, faculty, staff and corporate and foundation partners whose contributions throughout the entire year come together to make a Canisius College education possible for our students. By helping to provide a Canisius education, all benefactors to the college make a Canisius College education possible for our students. Thank you for being the spark to our students’ flames!

Here is how the collective generosity of Canisius supporters makes a difference at Canisius and in the lives of our students.


The close of our 2016 campaign marks the beginning of a new year of giving at Canisius.  It’s never too early to make your 2016-17 gift - visit to do so today.

Tassini ’10 Ordained to the Priesthood

Peter Tassini ’10 fulfilled a life-long calling from the Holy Spirit when he was ordained to the priesthood on Saturday, June 4. He was among three priests ordained and assigned to the Diocese of Syracuse, NY, during a Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

“The whole experience was particularly inspiring but I was especially moved when all the priests were laying hands on me,” says Tassini.

Tassini’s spiritual journey began as a teenager when he first considered a religious vocation. His parents encouraged the close-knit family to attend weekly Mass together.  They taught Tassini to recognize the presence of Christ in himself and others. Tassini became a volunteer at his home parish, St. James, and ministered to the sick and elderly.

He then chose to attend Canisius College, where he knew he would receive the vocational guidance he needed. “The Jesuits at Canisius helped me discern and discover where I would be most happy in my service to God.”

Read more about Tassini’s journey here.

Three Join Alumni Board

Three new members join the Alumni Association Board of Directors for three-year terms beginning July 1. The board assists the Office of Alumni Engagement by involving alumni in direct and meaningful ways with alma mater and its graduates.

The board is led by President Judy Bassanello ’83, First Vice President Pauline Costanzo Will ’93 and Second Vice President Jennifer Johnson Smith ’91, MBA '93.  Nicholas Fiume ’01 is immediate past president.

The new members are:

Maria-Rose Frisina ’93, senior systems administrator, University at Buffalo

Michelle Tesseyman Skelly ’91, development director, Tennis Whizz

Christopher Urban ’07, financial consultant, AXA Advisors

Stay Connected to Alma Mater

Canisius College continually strives to keep our alumni connected to alma mater and to one another. As part of that effort, the college is excited to partner with Publishing Concepts Inc. (PCI) to publish a new alumni directory for the first time since 2006. If you have not been contacted already, PCI will soon communicate with you via email, postcard or telephone to request that you update your contact information. We encourage you to respond promptly to these communications to help us compile data and create the most accurate alumni directory possible.

For more information about the college’s new alumni directory, please contact Sharon Kasperczyk, alumni engagement officer, at (716) 888-2703.

Buffalo Bills Training Camp

The Rochester Alumni Chapter invites alumni from the Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse areas to get prepped for the upcoming football season by attending the Buffalo Bills Training Camp on Monday, August 15 at St. John Fischer College in Rochester.  The cost is $30 per person and includes a breakfast buffet from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. in the Keating Terrace Tent. For more information, contact the Office of Alumni Engagement at 716-888-2700 or 800-201-4952.

Coaches’ Huddle

From left to right: Terri Mangione, PhD, vice president for student affairs, Reggie Witherspoon, head coach, men’s basketball and Susan Smith, wife of Dave Smith, head coach, men’s hockey.

The college’s inaugural Coaches’ Huddle was a resounding success!  Nearly 150 Canisius alumni, family and friends gathered for a meet-and-greet with Golden Griffin head coaches at Resurgence Brewery on June 22.  Dave Smith, head coach, men’s hockey; Terry Zeh, head coach, women’s basketball; and Reggie Witherspoon, new head coach, men's basketball; as well as Bill Maher ’89, director of athletics, were on hand for the event.

View more photos here.

Buffalo Niagara Chapter Alumni Happy Hour

From left to right: Nicholas Barone ’06, Nina Barone ’06 and Todd Salansky ’00, MBA '04 . Back row: Mark Taylor ’06.

Nearly 100 Griffins enjoyed the Buffalo Niagara Chapter Alumni Happy Hour on June 9 at Lloyd Taco Factory. The event was hosted by the Office of Alumni Engagement and the Buffalo Niagara Alumni Chapter.

A special thank you to Pete Cimino '03, co-owner of Lloyd Taco Factory, who welcomed fellow alums and helped to make this event a huge success!  View more photos from the event here.

Magis Giving Circle Reception

From left to right:  Lisa Wardynski, Robert Yoviene ’56 and Mary Lou Yoviene.

More than 90 members of the Magis Giving Circle gathered for a reception at the Country Club of Buffalo on June 2. The Magis Giving Circle recognizes members of the college’s highest giving levels of the Leadership Society. The event was hosted by President John Hurley as a way to thank members for their generosity.  View more photos of the event here.

ROTC 40th Reunion

Retired officers from the ROTC Class of 1976, front row from left to right: Lt. Col. Joe Songin and Lt. Col. Marcus Bembenista. Back row, from left to right:  Col. Chuck Sardo, Lt. Col. John Provost, Col. Jim Schultz, Col. Don Billoni, Col. Dave Casmus, Lt. Col. Pete Schifferle, Major Paul Wypijewski and Col. Eric Tarbox.
The Canisius College Military Science Program recognized 16 members of the ROTC Class of 1976 at its Military Ball held in May.  Each retired officer received a framed print in gratitude for exceptional service, and to commemorate the training and mentoring received through the ROTC cadre.  

Sports Photographer Dave Schofield '70 Retires

Dave Schofield '70 retires after four decades of capturing some of the most historic moments in sports.  While a student at Canisius, Schofield’s career took off when he shot the timeless black-and-white photo of an encounter between Buffalo Sabres’ captain Gerry Meehan and a young fan in the tunnel at Buffalo’s Memorial Auditorium.  Read more about Schofield’s career here.

Steve Brown ’83 Chronicles Ali’s 1968 Speech at Canisius

In the late 1960s, legendary boxer Muhammad Ali spoke at several colleges, including Canisius, to make money after he was stripped of his heavyweight boxing title. Ali lost his title when he refused to be drafted to serve in the Vietnam War.  Investigative reporter for WGRZ-TV Channel 2, Steve Brown ’83, reports the story of Muhammad Ali’s visit to Canisius.  Watch here.

Canisius’ Property Brothers

Twin brothers Alex ‘13 and Will Severyn ’13 learned all they could about the real estate business from their father and gained entrepreneurial skills from their studies at Canisius. After graduation, the pair bought three homes and Ambitious Enterprises was born. Read more about their journey and successful business here.

Alumnus Quoted on National Women’s Health Website

Charles J. Pelitera ’80, MS ’90, EdD, assistant professor of kinesiology and coordinator of health and wellness at Canisius, discussed what happens to the metabolism of an obese person during rapid weight loss and what changes that individual needs to make in order to keep weight off, in an article on

Cortese ’78 Discusses Service at Canisius on “Hammertime”

Dominic Cortese ’78, president of Cortese Brothers Construction Company Inc., discussed Campus Ministry’s alumni service trip to New Orleans during his weekly radio show “Hammertime,” on Saturday, June 4 on WBEN-AM radio. Listen to the entire episode of “Hammertime” here.