May 2016 - Canisius Online

Canisius Recruits Reggie Witherspoon

From left to right: President John J. Hurley, Reggie Witherspoon, head men’s basketball coach and Bill Maher, director of athletics.

Reggie Witherspoon is the new head coach of the Canisius College men’s basketball team. A Buffalo native and 20-year veteran of the college basketball coaching ranks, Witherspoon is the 24th head coach in the college’s men’s basketball history. during a news conference yesterday at the Koessler Athletic Center.

“I had the opportunity to work with Reggie for six years at the University at Buffalo,” said Canisius Athletic Director Bill Maher '89. “After that, I watched him recruit and develop students and grow programs. Reggie is uniquely qualified to build our program and compete for championships.”

“I thank God for the chance to come back and coach in my hometown,” added Witherspoon. “A lot of Canisius alumni live in the area and care very much about the team. I appreciate the effort that Jim Baron, the coaching staff, and the players have put into this program.

 Witherspoon spent the 2015-16 season at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, where he was a member of Matt McCall’s coaching staff that led the Mocs to a 29-6 overall record, a Southern Conference regular-season championship, a SoCon tourney title and the school’s first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2009. Prior to his time with Chattanooga, he spent one season at Alabama under former head coach Anthony Grant, who is currently a member of the coaching staff for the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder. With the Crimson Tide in 2014-15, he was part of a staff that posted 19 overall wins and eight SEC victories en route to a bid to the NIT.

“At every stop in his coaching career, Reggie has been a proven winner on and off the court,” added Canisius President John J. Hurley. “In Reggie, we not only see a successful coach and recruiter, but an outstanding ambassador, role model and mentor for our student athletes.”

Witherspoon is best known in Western New York for his work building the basketball program at the University at Buffalo. A two-time Mid-American Conference (MAC) Coach of the Year (2004, 2012), he led the Bulls from 1999-2013, where he posted a career record of 198-228 in 14 seasons.

Read more about Witherspoon here.  

Witherspoon replaces Jim Baron, the Canisius men’s basketball coach for the past four seasons, who announced his retirement on May 20. He retires from coaching with a total of 462 career wins.

Baron led the Griffs to 73 total wins, 44 wins in MAAC regular season play and three consecutive national postseason appearances. He is the first coach in Canisius history to take his team to the national postseason his first three years at the helm.

Commencement 2016

The Class of 2016 joined the ranks of Canisius College alumni, following graduate and undergraduate commencement ceremonies on May 18 and May 20, respectively. The pomp and circumstance of the week was accompanied by the emotion and pride of the nearly 1,300 newly-minted graduates, their families, and Canisius faculty and staff.

Venture capitalist and Lancaster, NY native Terrance McGuire addressed the graduate Class of 2016 on Wednesday evening, at which 560 degrees were conferred. Rev. James Martin, SJ, editor-at-large of the national Catholic magazine, America, delivered the undergraduate commencement address. Canisius conferred more than 700 degrees at that ceremony.

The Canisius Classes of 1956 and 1966 commemorated their 50- and 60-year reunions, respectively, during undergraduate commencement ceremonies. Among these Jubilarians was Lt. Col. (Ret.) Richard J. Herrmann, whose plans to graduate with his class in 1966 were disrupted when Herrmann was called upon to serve active duty abroad.  A half-century later, President John J. Hurley conferred a Canisius diploma upon Herrmann during undergraduate commencement ceremonies.

Click here to read more about Commencement Weekend 2016, watch a highlight video and enjoy photos.

President’s Medal Conferred Upon Judge Curtin ’46, HON ’78

President John Hurley confers the President’s Medal upon the Honorable John T. Curtin ’46, HON ’78, during a ceremony at the Robert H. Jackson United States Courthouse on Thursday, May 19. 

Canisius President John J. Hurley conferred the President’s Medal upon the Honorable John T. Curtin ’46, HON ’78, in recognition of the magistrate’s remarkable tenure.  

The senior U.S. District Judge for the Western District of New York stepped down from his position on April 12 following 48 years on the bench.  During his career, Judge Curtin oversaw such landmark cases as the 1972 Buffalo Schools desegregation suit and the 1994 ruling that found Hooker Chemical illegally dumped chemicals into Love Canal.

The President’s Medal bears the phrase “For God and Country,” and is bestowed only periodically to individuals who have distinguished themselves in public life through service to God and community.  Since 1955, the President’s Medal has been conferred only 47 times.

Click here to read more about Judge Curtin’s historic tenure on the bench.

Homecoming 2016

Hjckrrh!  A new symbol of Canisius pride landed on campus this month with the arrival of a 1,500-pound bronze statue of the Golden Griffin.  The half-eagle-half-lion nests prominently – and permanently – along Main Street outside Science Hall.  The Griffin stands six-feet high and eight-feet long, and is cast in bronze, which can endure for upwards of 12,000 years – an appropriate alloy for a mythological creature that sprang from the human imagination more than 5,000 years ago.

The Golden Griffin statue is made possible by the Undergraduate Student Association and sculptor Mark Palmerton, co-owner of the Crucible Foundry in Norman, OK.  Students and alumni are expected to immortalize the majestic mascot as a source of luck, and a symbol of pride and achievement.

The statue will be formally dedicated during Homecoming Weekend, Thursday, September 22 – Sunday, September 25. Make your plans now to join the festivities and reconnect with classmates, share memories and see what’s happening on campus.

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

Reunions are the hallmark of Homecoming Weekend and this year’s event will commemorate the classes of 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991, 1996, 2001, 2006 and 2011.  The following affinity groups will also host events during Homecoming Weekend: International Students, UNITY, All-College Honors, Club Football, Counseling and Human Services and College Student Personnel.  After, head over to the Quad for the popular Tent Party and enjoy food, music and dancing.

On Saturday, the events continue including Java with the Jesuits, campus tours, Fall Fest for children of all ages, and Family and Alumni Mass. Cap off the day and celebrate the accomplishments of your fellow Griffins at the Distinguished Alumni Awards dinner in the Montante Cultural Center.

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 KAC.

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

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

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. Starting soon, PCI will contact 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.

A Golden Moment

Pictured (l-r) Regents Ball co-chair Annette Dispenza-Kajtoch ’88, MBA ’90; Maureen Hurley and Canisius President John J. Hurley;  Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker ’82 and Adrian F. Dedecker III and Regents Ball co-chair Brian Murphy ’95.  Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker ’82, president and CEO of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, received the 2016 Board of Regents Distinguished Citizen Award for her contributions to the civic, cultural and economic well-being of Buffalo Niagara.

The Canisius College Regents Ball commemorated 50 years on May 7.  The annual gala began as a friend-raiser in 1966, hosted by the Canisius Board of Regents.  Today, the event raises scholarship support for students who might not otherwise be able to take advantage of a Canisius education.  

This year’s Golden Jubilee Gala included dinner, dancing, and a drawing for various valuable prize packages.  In all, more than 500 guests helped to raise a resounding $146,000 for the Board of Regents Scholarship Fund.  

Click here to view photos from the event.  

Click here to watch the Regents Ball video

Gansworth Participates in Library of Congress Reading

Eric Gansworth, professor of English and Lowery Writer-in-Residence, participated in a reading and discussion at The Library of Congress Poetry and Literature Center in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, May 10.

The event, entitled “Spotlight on Native Writers,” featured other Native American fiction writers and was moderated by award-winning Native American writer Deborah Miranda.

Gansworth is a writer and visual artist, and an enrolled member of the Onondaga Nation.  He was born and raised on the Tuscarora Reservation in Niagara County, NY.

Read more about Gansworth and the reading here.

Shick Receives Rev. Thomas Fleming, SJ, Award

Richard A. Shick, PhD, soon-to-be-retired dean of the Wehle School of Business, is the 2016 recipient of the Rev. Thomas Fleming, SJ, Award. Established in 1985 by the Masters of Business Alumni Association (MBAA) Board of Directors, this award is conferred upon a member of the Canisius College community who demonstrates outstanding service to the graduate business programs and alumni association.

The award was presented Thursday, May 12 at the annual MBAA cocktail party.

Alumna’s "Dream, Girl" Screened at the White House

Erin Bagwell ’09, director, "Dream, Girl" and Komal Minhas, producer, Dream, Girl

"Dream, Girl," a documentary directed by Erin E. Bagwell ’09, was screened at The White House on May 26 for 180 key individuals from Capitol Hill, along with the film’s cast, friends and family of the filmmakers.  The film showcases the empowering stories women and the diverse companies they founded.

Click here to read more about Erin Bagwell and "Dream, Girl" in this feature.

Canisius Alumni Named to “30 Under Thirty”

Congratulations to three Canisius College alumni named to Business First of Buffalo’s “30 Under Thirty.” The annual list recognizes career achievements, leadership and initiative, community engagement and each nominee’s potential to become a community leader “on a grand scale.” Canisius alumni on the list are:

•   Moira Giammaresi ’09, corporate relations specialist, BlueCross BlueShield of Western New York
•   Breanna Pugh MBA ’12, marketing manager, Ivoclar Vivodent
•   Gregory Straus ’08, real estate broker, HusVar Properties/Redline Rentals of Buffalo

Carballada ’56, HON ’81 to Serve as Deputy Mayor of Rochester

Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren appointed Carlos Carballada ’56, HON ’81 to serve as deputy mayor of the city of Rochester. He succeeds Deputy Mayor Len Redon, who retires at the end of May.  In 2011, Carballada served as the city’s acting mayor.

Carballada holds a degree in English from Canisius.  Read more about his appointment here.

Alumna Wins Book Award

The New York Academy of History awarded Charity Vogel ’97 a 2016 Herbert H. Lehman Prize for Distinguished Scholarship for her book, The Angola Horror: The 1867 Train Wreck That Shocked the Nation and Transformed American Railroads. 

Vogel, a 1997 graduate with degrees in communication studies and English, accepted her award at the Cosmopolitan Club in New York City on May 5.

Read more about Vogel and her book here.

Burns ’74 Appointed Supervising Criminal Court Judge

New York State Supreme Court Justice Christopher J. Burns ’74 was appointed supervising criminal court judge for Alleghany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee and Wyoming counties.  In this role, Burns will work with 21 judges from the Supreme and County courts assigned to handle criminal cases.

Burns is a 1974 graduate of the college with a degree in English.
Click here to read more about his appointment.

Burhans’ GoodLand Project Gaining Momentum

The Connecticut Mirror recently interviewed Molly Burhans ’14 about the GoodLand Project, an initiative she founded to increase the Catholic Church’s understanding and ecological planning of its landholdings, in order to demonstrate how these lands can be a means for positive global environmental and social change.

Click here to read the story.

Earlier this month, Burhans met with Cardinal Peter Turkson, head of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, to discuss how the GoodLand Project can serve the mission of the Roman Catholic Church.