Canisius Announces Student Commencement Speakers

BUFFALO, NY - Canisius College has announced its student commencement speakers for the college’s 148th Undergraduate Commencement Ceremonies on Saturday, May 17 at in the Canisius College Koessler Athletic Center. The undergraduate class is comprised of approximately 715 students.

Anne M. Continetti will speak at the Arts and Sciences Commencement Ceremony, which begins at 12:30 p.m.

Continetti is a communication studies major in the All-College Honors Program. She is a member of Alpha Sigma Nu, the Jesuit Honor Society; Sigma Delta Pi (the National Spanish Honor Society) and Lambda Pi Eta (the National Communication Honor Society).  Continetti was also inducted into Di Gamma Honor Society in recognition of her accomplishments and contributions to Canisius.

Continetti has extensive leadership and extra-curricular experience, including as vice president of programming for the Undergraduate Student Association and chair of the Student Programming Board. In the latter role, she was responsible for planning and executing major campus events such as SpringFest.  In addition, Continetti helped integrate new students to Canisius as an orientation leader and introduced prospective students and their parents to campus as an admissions tour guide.

For Campus Ministry, Continetti served as a lector, Eucharistic minister and Eucharistic minister coordinator.  She was also a member of the college’s Contemporary Music Ensemble and Jazz Band.

Jessica M. Bliss will serve as the student speaker for the School of Education and Human Services and Richard M. Hilliker will serve as the student speaker for the Richard J. Wehle School of Business. The commencement ceremonies for those schools will begin at 3 p.m.

Bliss is an adolescence education major (grades 7-12) major. She was extensively involved in Campus Ministry projects during her time at Canisius, including an International Service Immersion trip to Brazil and Winter Service Week (WSW) in January 2013. During WSW in New York City, Bliss was among a group of six students who taught refugee students English.  She also participated in Canisius College Community Days, during which nearly 300 students, faculty and staff volunteer with local agencies on a variety of projects.

 Bliss utilized her student leadership skills on campus in various ways. She served as a senator on the Undergraduate Student Association (USA) during her junior and senior years and mentored incoming freshman education majors.  As an orientation leader, Bliss helped familiarize incoming freshmen to Canisius College. For her dedication to the college, Bliss was inducted the DiGamma Honor Society in spring 2013. 

Hilliker is a finance and economics dual major. He has exemplified the Jesuit ideals in his academics, extra-curricular activities and service work.  As vice president of Enactus, an organization of students and business leaders who use entrepreneurial action to improve the quality of life for people in need, he taught refugees life skills to assist in their adjustment to life in America. In addition, Hilliker helped develop a business plan with a local refugee leader to open an ethnic grocery store.  During his study abroad experience in Oviedo, Spain; Hilliker tutored elementary school students in English at San Ignacio Jesuit School.

Hilliker was team captain for the CFA Institute Research Challenge, a global competition in which students research and analyze a publicly traded company. The team won the Western New York local competition. Hilliker is a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society, Sigma Delta Pi (the National Spanish Honor Society) and was inducted into Di Gamma for his efforts on the college’s behalf.

Canisius is one of 28 Jesuit universities in the nation and the premier private university in Western New York.