November 2015 - Canisius Online

Sciolino ’70, HON ’92 to Receive President’s Medal

Canisius President John J. Hurley will confer the President’s Medal upon Elaine Sciolino ’70, HON ’92 on Tuesday, December 1. The ceremony will take place following Sciolino’s book talk and signing, which begins at 7:00 p.m. in the Montante Cultural Center. All alumni are invited to attend. 

Bestowed periodically, the President’s Medal bears the phrase ‘For God and Country’ and is conferred to those who have distinguished themselves in public life through service to God and community. Elaine Sciolino will be only the 40th person in Canisius history to receive the President’s Medal.

Sciolino is a writer and former Paris bureau chief for The New York Times, and former correspondent and Rome bureau chief for Newsweek magazine. During her tenure with both news agencies, she reported on some of the world’s most historic events including the Iranian Revolution, the Iran-Iraq War, the U.S. invasion of Grenada, Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait, and the suicide attack on the U.S. Marines’ barracks in Beirut, Lebanon.

She is the author of four books including The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue des Martyrs. Released in November 2015, the book is part memoir, part travelogue and part love letter “to the people who live and work on this magical street in Paris.”

Born in Buffalo, NY, Sciolino graduated summa cum laude from Canisius in 1970. She is an inductee of the college’s DiGamma Honor Society and received the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1981. Eleven years later, Canisius conferred upon Sciolino an honorary doctorate degree. She holds a master’s degree in European history from New York University. Click here to read more about Sciolino.

Robert Levi ’54 Bequeaths $1.18 Million to Canisius

Canisius College is the recipient of a $1.18 million gift from the estate of Robert E. Levi, an attorney and philanthropist who passed away on February 22, 2013 at the age of 80. The gift will be used to provide financial assistance to Canisius students interested in law or law-related careers.

A 1954 alumnus, Levi earned a bachelor’s degree in business education from Canisius and went on to graduate with a juris doctorate degree from the University of Notre Dame. For the next 60-plus years, he practiced with the firm he helped establish, McKenna, Brady and Levi.

He also became “a quiet benefactor to a large number of families, individuals and institutions, whom he assisted in many different ways,” says friend Frederick Hamp. “But Bob never spoke too much about what he did. He was very quiet and demure in that way.”

Alma mater is fortunate to have had a life-long friend in Levi.

For more than 40 years, he gave consistently to the college’s Canisius Fund. Levi’s annual gift of $25 helped support academic programs and strengthen the Jesuit mission. That generosity will now live on in perpetuity, as a result of Levi’s $1.18 million bequest.

“Bob was always very concerned with helping younger people,” Hamp explains. “I think this is Bob’s way of eternally supporting young people who want to go to college but might not otherwise be able to.” Click here to read more about Robert E. Levi.

Ten Nominated to DiGamma Honor Society

The DiGamma Honor Society will induct 10 new members on February 19, 2016. This prestigious society is composed of “men and women for others” who distinguish themselves working for the advancement of the college, and who provide exemplary service on behalf of students and fellow alumni. The 2016 inductees are:

  • Larry Aiello Jr. ’71, president and CEO (retired), Corning Cable Systems LLC
  • Kurt C. Bingeman ’71, president and owner, Russell Bond & Co. Inc.
  • Martin J. Berardi ’79 (named in 2015), CEO, Schutte-Hammermill LLC
  • James L. Budny ’70, MD, neurosurgeon, Gates Vascular Institute
  • Annette Dispenza-Kajtoch ’88, MBA ’90, senior vice president, First Niagara Bank
  • Edward J. Kelley ’08, lead consultant, Dixon Hughes Goodman LLP
  • Kenneth F. Myszka ’70 (named in 2015), president and CEO, Sovran Self Storage Inc.
  • Kevin W. Spitler ’71, attorney, Law Offices of Kevin Spitler
  • Sharon A. Kasperczyk AA ’12, alumni engagement officer, Canisius College
  • Terri L. Mangione, PhD, vice president for student affairs and dean of students, Canisius College

Canisius Unveils Library Renovations

More than 50 donors, guests and family members attended the dedication and unveiling of the newly-renovated Andrew L. Bouwhuis Library on Thursday, November 12. The $4 million makeover, which was completed over the summer, transformed the space into a technology rich learning commons.

Pictured above (left to right) are Tony Lombardo, Josephine Lombardo and Brian McGowan, relatives of the late Phillip Lombardo ’48, whose $1 million estate gift, along with a previous $500,000 gift, enabled Canisius to begin work on the third phase of the project. The Philip C. ’48 and Josephine Lombardo Collaborative Learning Center, which is housed on the library’s main floor, is named in memory of the Lombardos.

Make Your Year-End Gift Before December 31

As we prepare to close another calendar year and enjoy the Christmas season with family and friends, we ask you to take a moment to consider a gift to Canisius.

Be sure to make your gift, in support of our students, by December 31 to take advantage of the 2015 tax deduction.

Your support advances our Jesuit educational mission by providing vital funding for scholarships, academic programs, service trips and student initiatives. In short, you give our students a tremendous gift – a Canisius College education.

Accounting Alumni “Lead” By Example

Thomas R. Emmerling ’75, Canisius trustee and Council on Accountancy member, hosted an event on October 21 at the Buffalo Club to invite fellow accounting graduates to join the Leadership Society - one of the college’s most influential donor groups -during this year’s annual fundraising campaign.

The event is part of an initiative to double the number of accounting graduates in the Leadership Society, which now stands at 140, in order to increase funding for scholarships and other college priorities. More than 30 volunteers are assisting with this effort by encouraging their former classmates and friends to support Canisius at the Leadership Society level. Click here to see a list of accounting graduates who have already become Leadership Society members.

Join your classmates by becoming a member of the Leadership Society today at

(L to R) Judith Russo Caserta ’80, MS ’08, Michael A. Ervolina Jr. ’79, Gene Carney ’80, Anthony B. Spada Jr. ’80, MBA ’87, and Marco F. Benedetti, vice president for business and finance at Canisius, attended the event.

Serve as one of Santa’s Elves!

St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy needs thousands of wrapped toys moved from a secret location, which it affectionately dubs its “toy box,” to St. Luke’s Mission Mall on Thursday, December 17. As an elf, it’s as if you are working in Santa’s workshop getting the toys ready for the children! 

St. Luke’s provides Christmas for 2,600 families in need from the city of Buffalo. For more information and to sign up, contact Joe Van Volkenburg, in Campus Ministry, at or 888-2875.

Rappl '77, MS '80 Inducted into Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame

Congratulations to retired softball coach Mike Rappl ’77, MS '80 who was inducted into the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame. Rappl was among 12 honorees inducted during a ceremony on Wednesday, November 4 at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.

Rappl (right) is pictured above with Canisius Athletic Director Bill Maher ’89 who was on hand for the event. Rappl coached softball at Canisius for 35 seasons and was a seven- time Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Coach of the Year before his retirement in 2014.

Griff Center Says Hello to Handshake

Canisius alumni now have new, innovative career development tools at their fingertips through the Griff Center for Academic Engagement.
The center launched Handshake this fall, a modern job search and career recruitment platform that matches applicants with potential employers. The new software replaces College Central. Click here for more information about Handshake. 

Canisius Alumni Network Event

On November 10, Canisius alumni and Urban Leadership Learning Community (ULLC) students gathered for an informal networking event on campus. This event enabled students to engage in real-world discussions about careers and how current coursework will help them achieve their goals. Alumni shared their successes, obstacles and career path guidance with the students.

Networking events showcase the Canisius Alumni Network at its best by assisting students in building their networks within the Canisius family. The networking events continue to play a pivotal role in connecting students and alumni.

The Alumni Engagement Office would like to thank co-chairs of the networking committee, Jennie (Johnson) Smith ’91, MBA ’93 and Susan (Colmerauer ) Polvino ’82, as well as ULLC scholar Vance Stinson ’16 for organizing a great event.

Canisius Commemorates Veterans Day

On Wednesday, November 11, the Canisius College community honored those who have served our country during events held on campus. Veterans Day events included a wreath laying ceremony at the Greatest Generation Memorial. Click here to see photos from the ceremony.

For the seventh consecutive year, Canisius is among the top institutions of higher education designated a Military Friendly School by Victory Media, publisher of G.J. Jobs and Military Spouse magazines. The annual ranking provides service members and their families with transparent, data-driven ratings about post-military education and career opportunities. Click here to read more about Canisius’ military friendly ranking.

Alumni Honored on National Philanthropy Day

Canisius joined the Western New York Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and other local charitable organizations at the annual National Philanthropy Day luncheon on November 12 at Salvatore’s Italian Gardens.

The college recognized Anthony ’55 and Carmela HON ’88 Colucci as its Distinguished Honorees for their generous contributions of time, talent and treasure.

Anthony Colucci has dedicated six decades to alma mater, and Carmela Colucci has been an enthusiastic partner in his endeavors. Anthony Colucci has served twice as a college Trustee. He was a Regent and led record-setting campaigns for the President’s Council, Annual Fund and Class Reunion Gift Fund. The Coluccis have made Canisius a philanthropic priority, committing a seven-figure gift to the college’s Legacy of Leadership Campaign. The Anthony J. Colucci Jr. ’55, Esq. Family Scholarship Fund serves as a permanent testament to their generosity and strong belief in Jesuit education.

In addition, Susan Swarts MBA ’99 received the Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser Award for her work with Erie Community College; George Eberl ’68 was recognized as a Distinguished Honoree by Trocaire College; and Thomas Rosenecker ’92 was recognized as a Distinguished Honoree by the Summit Center.

Prazmark ’75 Discusses Global Sports Marketing 

Robert Prazmark ’75, founder and CEO of 21 Sports and Entertainment Marketing Group Inc., spoke at Canisius on Monday, November 16.

Prazmark, who discussed global sports marketing, was on campus as part of the Canisius Distinguished Guest Lecturer Series in Sport Management. He also spoke earlier in the day to undergraduate students during a sport management class, and toured the college’s new Golden Griffin Sports Broadcast Center in Science Hall.

Prazmark is one of the most highly-regarded executives in the sports and entertainment business, and is uniquely recognized within the Olympic Movement. In August 2004, Sports Business Journal named Prazmark the Olympics’ eighth most influential person in the world. He is the all-time leading seller of Olympic-related programs. He is also an expert at consulting and negotiating the rights and benefits offered by various Olympic entities.

Williams ’10 featured on Channel 2’s “Daybreak”

In a story by WGRZ-TV Channel 2 reporter Claudine Ewing, Venzella “Joy” Williams ’10 talked about how she received her first drum set at age 10 and went on to achieve her dream of becoming Beyoncé’s drummer.

A native of Lockport, Williams studied criminal justice with a music minor at Canisius and was a member of the college’s Urban Leadership Learning Community (ULLC). She started performing at Prince of Peace Temple Church of God in Christ in Buffalo, where Williams’ father was a gospel singer. Later, Williams brought her beat to the Canisius College jazz band. Watch the story here.

Scott Sroka ’94 Appears on “Natural Born Outlaws”

A recent move by the U.S. Senate to name the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms’ (ATF) new Washington headquarters after Eliot Ness is sparking debate about whether the federal agent, who became legendary for bringing down Al Capone, really deserves the honor. Scott Sroka ’94 is arguing that he does.

An assistant U.S. attorney in Washington, D.C., Sroka is also the grandson of Joe Leeson, one of the 10 federal agents (or Untouchables) who brought the former mobster to justice, restoring law and order to Prohibition-era Chicago.

Defenders of Ness, including Sroka, say the country owes a significant debt of gratitude to all 10 Untouchables.

“Their courage and ingenuity brought down the most notorious gangster of the 20th century and gave us important tools to fight organized crime in the United States,” says Sroka. “ Ness remains a proper reminder that the honest, vigilant and professional efforts of law enforcement can and will keep our citizens safe and uphold the rule of law over crime and violence.”

Sroka has written and been quoted extensively on this subject (see below). He most recently appeared on an episode of “Natural Born Outlaws,” which tells the story of Al Capone and the members of federal law enforcement who took him down. “Natural Born Outlaws” airs on the American Heroes Channel.

Sroka is also writing a book about his grandfather’s work with Ness and the Untouchables.

The Chicago Sun Times

The Washington Post

The Chicago Tribune

National Public Radio (NPR)