Honors Awards

There are five awards given annually in the Honors Program, usually at the annual Honors banquet in the spring semester. The Honors director decides who wins these awards.

(a) Robert J. Butler Award for Leadership

Awarded to the student(s) who has made particularly significant contributions to the All-College Honors Program.

Dr. Robert J. Butler, a Professor of English, served for twenty-one years as director of the Canisius All-College Honors Program (1985-2006). During that pivotal period, he increased the size of the student body, raised admissions standards, and expanded the opportunities for cultural enrichment. He is a native of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, and completed his formal education at St. Michael’s College and the University of Notre Dame. He is the author or coauthor of seven books on African American literature, and is an internationally known authority on the subject. A Kenneth L. Koessler Distinguished Professor, Butler is also renowned for his dedication to teaching, his unflagging commitment to a more just society, and his passions for bicycling and the Boston Red Sox baseball team.

(b) Kristin M. Brady Award for Excellence in All-College Honors Thesis

Awarded to the student who has written the best thesis that year.

Kristin M. Brady graduated from Canisius College summa cum laude in 1970 as an English major and a member of the All-College Honors Program. She then served as a teacher in AmeriCorps and subsequently earned a Ph.D. in English from the University of Toronto. She taught in the English department at the University of Western Ontario, becoming a distinguished professor who won teaching awards and published widely on 19th century English literature. Her book on novelist Thomas Hardy is regarded as a landmark study. While on sabbatical in France in 1998, she died tragically in an automobile crash. Kristin Brady represented the highest ideals at Jesuit education—intellectual excellence and service to others.

(c) Griffin Scholars

The Griffin Scholarship program supports an All-College Honors student who assumes a year-long leadership role on campus and/or in the community. This award is particularly appropriate as a means of encouraging some of the best & brightest students at Canisius College to assume a leadership role. After all, Canisius is the college which espouses the mottos, “Where Leaders Are Made” and “Men and Women for and with Others.” Scholars receive a partial tuition waiver.

(d) Edward '65 & Mary Jane Szczesniak Endowment

This endowment supports the educational goals of the All-College Honors Program in a manner consistent with the philosophy of Canisius College.

An early graduate of the Canisius Honors Program, Edward Szczesniak has committed his life to defending the United States and serving his community in Onondaga county, the New York State Democratic party, and the Roman Catholic Church. Szczesniak served with distinction in the Vietnam war, was elected to the executive committee of the New York State Election Commissioners Association, and chaired the YMCA, the Chamber of Commerce, and the bishop's council, accumulating many awards along the way. His business interests have included real estate and stock market investments. He has been married to his wife Mary Jane Szczesniak for a half century.

(e) Schoenl Family Scholarship

This scholarship helps students participate in overseas trips arranged by the college's Campus Ministry. The point of these immersion trips is to learn about and to help overseas people in dire need. In recent years, Campus Ministry has organized trips to Ecuador, El Salvador, India, Mexico, and Poland, among other places.

William & Linda Schoenl (pictured above) established the Schoenl Family Scholarship out of their firm conviction that the people of God must help the unfortunate worldwide. Dr. William Schoenl, who was a member of Canisius’ first All-College Honors class in 1963, is a professor of modern European history at Michigan State University, and has been very active in helping the poor.

Students and Canisius President John J. Hurley (far right) with Sister Marc who works at a school in the violent “Chacra” neighborhood of San Salvador.

Read an essay about the Schoenl Scholarship here (MS Word)

(f) John J. Hurley Award

Awarded to the All-College Honors student graduating in the spring semester who best exemplifies the Jesuit values of academic excellence, leadership, and the promotion of justice. The award is named for the Canisius College president who was an outstanding All-College Honors student (Class of 1978) at Canisius and, since then, has exemplified the spirit of magis as a community leader, generous benefactor, and a tireless advocate of social justice. In years when there is a deserving candidate, the Hurley award winner will receive $500 and a plaque.

(g) Honors Professor of the Year

Awarded to the professor (past or present) who has made exceptional contributions to the Honors Program in teaching, scholarship, and/or service. Winners are ineligible for a second award.


Robert J. Butler Award for Leadership
2016 -- Elizabeth Piotrowski
2015 -- Elizabeth Piotrowski & Samantha Wagner
2014 -- Elizabeth Piotrowski, Darby Ratliff, Samantha Wagner
2013 -- Jonathan Beck
2012 -- Sandy Casey & Abby Fronckowiak
2011 -- Jonathan Beck, Sandra Casey, Alex Eadie
2010 -- Brittany Gray & Megan Hooks
2009 -- Joel Francia & Anne Marie Sweeney-Jones
2008 -- Colleen Hawkes 
2007 -- Kristin Garcia, Gabrielle Paoletti, Adam Pendleton 
2006 -- Jared Hojnacki & Nick Tober 
2005 -- Jennifer Huer 
2004 -- Ann Carapellotti, Laura Gellin, Michelle Kazmierczak 
2003 -- Jennifer Schutte 

Kristin M. Brady Award for Excellence in All-College Honors Thesis 
2016 -- Nicole Kuhn, Elliott Louisos, Charles Ritzler
2015 -- Amy Kawa, Thomas Rovito, Shannon Tierney
2014 -- Chase LaDue
2013 -- Eric Mietz, Laura Scott
2012 -- Hannah Ball, Laura Jakiel, Caitie McAneney
2011 -- Hunter Dudkiewicz, Gabrielle Printz, Hannah Valdes
2010 -- Cara Cotter, Natalie Photiadis, Andrea Rozansky
2009 -- Chantel Bartels & Emily Caruana
2008 -- Lauren Fish, Rachael Morlock, Duyen Nguyen 
2007 -- Karen Janiszewski, Katherine Liebner, Elizabeth Spavento 
2006 -- Charles Hartney 
2005 -- Victoria Kraft & Derek Weibel 
2004 -- Julie Ann Golebiewski & Russell Sbriglia 
2003 -- Shevaun Donelli & Kathy Riley 
2002 -- Carlie Arnold & Lauren Koppmann 
2001 -- Shannon Rohring & Jonathan Will 
2000 -- Robert Haley & Marisa Loffredo 
1999 -- Steven Seegel 

Griffin Scholars
2012 -- Matt Gorczyca
2011 -- Abby Fronckowiak, Arianna Opper

Schoenl Family Scholarship
2016 -- Mark Lawler, Elizabeth Sawka, Ellen Uba
2015 -- Lindsay Heck, Sara Kim, Monica Wrobel
2014 -- Beth Rakowski, Dipreet Kaur, Alie Iwanenko
2013 -- Mariel Klein, Michael Lillis, Alice Zicari
2012 -- Kaitlyn Buehlmann, Sandy Casey, Tara Cicatello
2011 -- Alyssa Bachman, Laura Knab, Mary Mietlicki
2010 -- Adam Augustyn, Jacob Castiglia, Ashley McCartney
2009 -- Amina Benman & Joel Francia

Outstanding Graduating Senior
2015 -- Nicole Gangloff, Thomas Rovito, Shannon Tierney

John J. Hurley Award
2016 -- Elizabeth Piotrowski

Honors Professor of the Year

Kate Dierenfield 
Kate Dierenfield, PhD


Christopher Lee, PhD

René de la Pedraja, PhD

Rebecca Krawiec, PhD

Peter Galie, PhD

Paul Dowling, PhD

Melvin Schroeder

David Costello, PhD

Robert Butler, PhD