Canisius Online – November 2014

Canisius Commemorates the 25th Anniversary of the Jesuit Martyrs

President Hurley Leads Delegation to El Salvador
 Pres. Hurley leads delegation to El Salvador
From left to right, Maureen Schmidt, CEO of Schmitt Sales, Inc., and a member of the Canisius College Board of Regents; Canisius President John J. Hurley; Sr. Peggy O’Neil,director of the Center for Art and Peace in El Salvador; Rev. Michael F. Tunney, S.J., director of mission and identity, George Eberl ’68, former president, Eberl Iron Works; and Terri L. Mangione, PhD, vice president for student affairs and dean of students.


Canisius President John J. Hurley returned to El Salvador with a delegation of Canisius administrators, alumni and friends earlier this month to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the Jesuit Martyrs and to recall their courage, conviction and their willingness to say “yes” in the face of violent oppression. Six Jesuit priests and two laywomen were killed in El Salvador on November 16, 1989, by Salvadoran military for their defense of the economically poor.

Terri L. Mangione, PhD, vice president for student affairs and dean of students, and Rev. Michael F. Tunney, S.J., director of mission and identity; accompanied President Hurley on the trip, as well as George Eberl ’68, former president of Eberl Iron Works; Maureen Schmitt, CEO of Schmitt Sales Inc., and a member of the Canisius College Board of Regents; Denis Woods, PhD, and his wife, Eileen Dooley. Woods is a retired chair of the Political Science Department of Shepard College and former member of the Political Science Department at Canisius. 

The group’s activities included a Central American University Martyrs 25th Anniversary Commemoration, Mass in memory of Archbishop Romero, and a presentation about the case against Salvadoran officials, which is pending in the Spanish National Court. 

Click here to read President Hurley’s reflections from his 2011 trip to El Salvador, published in the November issue of AJCU Connections

Canisius Delegates Attend Ignatian Family Teach-In

 Canisius Delegates Attend Ignatian Family Teach-In
Sarah Signorino, associate campus minister (front row left) and Joe Van Volkenburg, assistant to the director of campus ministry (front row right), led more than 20 Canisius delegates to the Ignatian Family Teach-In for Justice (IFTJ).


From November 15-17, more than 20 Canisius College delegates joined more than 1,300 social justice advocates affiliated with Jesuit universities, high schools, parishes and the larger Catholic Church at the Ignatian Family Teach–In for Justice (IFTJ) in Washington, D.C. The annual Teach-In coincided with the 25th anniversary of the Jesuit martyrs. 

The group was led by Sarah Signorino ’04, MS ’08, BA ’12, associate campus minister and Joe Van Volkenburg ’88, assistant to the director of campus ministry. Click here to read more about the delegation’s trip to the Teach-In.  

Canisius Fund Welcomes Summer Handzlik

Summer Handzlik headshotSummer L. Handzlik is the new assistant director of the Canisius Fund.  Handzlik comes to Canisius from Medaille College, where she managed the school’s annual fund.

At Canisius, Handzlik works closely with members of the institutional advancement staff to develop, coordinate and oversee all aspects of annual giving through direct mail, social media/ electronic and personal solicitation. Handzlik also directs and manages the college’s telephone solicitation call center.

Coaches, Players from Past and Present Gather for Hockey Reunion

 Image of Canisius Hockey Coaches-past and present
Pictured (l-r) during the on-ice ceremony recognizing Canisius’ “modern era” hockey coaches: Dave Smith (current head coach), Clancy Seymour, Carl Koeppel, Brian Cavanaugh, Mike Kelly, David Dietz, PhD.


More than 125 former Ice Griff players and coaches gathered for a Canisius hockey reunion on Saturday, November 22. A pre-game reception was hosted at the HARBORCENTER prior to the Griffs match-up against Mercyhurst. (The contest ended in a 3-3 tie.) Just prior to faceoff, Canisius recognized the team’s hockey coaches, from past and present, during an on-ice ceremony. The party continued post-game at Pettibones, where the history of Canisius hockey was chronicled by former head coaches David Dietz, PhD, Mike Kelly, Brian Cavanaugh and current head coach Dave Smith. Canisius President John J. Hurley and Athletics Director Bill Maher also made special appearances, as did Donald Barnett ’50, who played on Canisius’ very first hockey team.

The November 22 event was the largest hockey reunion in program history. The evening events were preceded by an alumni skate at HARBORCENTER and tours of the Ice Griff’s new locker room.

Support Canisius Service Programs on #GivingTuesday

Burrito Project image for #GivingTuesdayOn Tuesday, December 2, Canisius College will join more than 18,000 organizations to participate in the third annual #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back and inspiring generosity.

Canisius students exemplify the spirit of #GivingTuesday.  Each day of every year, these men and women for others participate in numerous campus ministry service projects and programs.  In recognition of #GivingTuesday, Canisius is asking for your support for one service program, in particular. 

The Canisius Chapter of the Burrito Project brings students together on the fourth Tuesday of each month in the undercroft of Christ the King Chapel. They prepare fresh home-made burritos and then walk a four mile route in downtown Buffalo to deliver the burritos to the poor and homeless.

A gift to the Canisius Chapter of the Burrito Project on #GivingTuesday directly supports this service program and those in need. 

To make your #GivingTuesday gift, visit  Just remember to designate your gift to the Burrito Project (or any other Canisius program or academic department that is important to you) in the space provided on the gift form. 

MLB Pitcher, John Axford MSA ’13, Visits Alma Mater

Image of MLB pitcher John Axford MSA '13The Canisius College Masters in Sport Administration Program welcomed Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher John Axford MSA ’13 to campus on November 13. Axford served as the keynote speaker at the college’s second annual Sports Forum. Afterwards, the college named its centerfield bullpen at the Demske Sports Complex after Axford, in recognition of a recent gift he made to the Canisius baseball program. The gift was the largest donation in the history of the school’s baseball program and will be used to directly improve the program.

“Coach Mike McRae is a big reason for this gift,” said Axford. “The commitment he has shown to Canisius shows how passionate he is for the team, program and college. I learned that when I was here, and I am seeing it continue as the program competes at a high level by winning a MAAC championship and playing in the NCAA Tournament.”

A current free agent, Axford most recently played for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He also pitched for the Milwaukee Brewers, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cleveland Indians.

Axford is a 2013 graduate of the Canisius College Masters in Sport Administration Program. 

Three Canisius Alumni to Serve with Jesuit Volunteer Corps

Three young Canisius alumni have committed to serve as members of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC). JVC assists in education, advocacy and direct and community service for low-wage earners, homeless, unemployed, refugees, individuals diagnosed with AIDS, elderly, street youth, former gang members, abused individuals, mentally ill, developmentally disabled, and others who strive to find justice in their lives. The JVC volunteers from Canisius include: 

  • Brittany Dorsey ’14, a biology major; is assigned to Cristol Rey Brooklyn High School, Brooklyn, NY.
  • Jamie Hitro, ’13, a chemistry/health professions track major; is assigned to St. Luke’s Catholic Medical Services, Camden, NJ.
  • Alice Zicari, ’13, a political science major; is assigned to Joseph’s House, Washington, D.C.

These Canisius alumni are among 314 Jesuit volunteers who live in 38 cities in six countries across the globe.


Alumnus Welcome New Baby During Snow Storm

Canisius alumnus Jared ’08 and his wife, Bethany Hojnacki, welcomed baby Lucy Grace, born in a Buffalo fire house during last week’s storm.  

Canisius Grad Overcomes Major Health Challenges to Achieve NHL Dreams

New York Islanders’ Cory Conacher ’11 faced multiple childhood surgeries and Type 1 Diabetes but he never stopped fighting for his goal to play in the National Hockey League. 

Read more about Conacher in the spring 2013 issue of Canisius Magazine here.

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