It’s been more than 20 years since Albert E. Gress ’85 attended Canisius but he continues to “carry his education with him every day.” It’s a journey that has taken him around the world.
Gress was a young boy when he and his family moved from Lebanon to the United States, where his father, Edward Gress, PhD, was accepted to study at Stanford University. The family moved several places before Gress’s father accepted a position as professor of accounting at Canisius College in 1976. Prior to Buffalo, the Gress family lived in Canada, Arizona, Louisiana and one year in Cairo, Egypt.
Following his father’s advice, Al Gress studied accounting at Canisius, as well. He also became engaged in the life of the college. Gress played on the tennis team, helped found a social fraternity and served as president of the Accounting Society. The well-rounded education he received, particularly from professors John Murphy, PhD, economics, and Larry Jones, PhD, history, remain a strong influence in his life.
“I still talk about Dr. Jones’ class to this day,” says Gress. “It was about concepts that drive history and the decisions people make.”
Hired after graduation by the accounting firm of PriceWaterhouse, Gress’ career took him to live in Egypt, Kuwait and Spain. Another position with different accounting firm found him in Cairo, where he met his wife, Noura.
Today, Gress is vice president of business development for TransGlobe Energy Corporation, an oil and gas company headquartered in Calgary, Canada. With the company since 2007, Gress is instrumental in growing the business in Egypt and other overseas locations.
He plays a similarly instrumental role in the lives of Canisius students.
Gress established the Simba & Sparky Scholarship at Canisius. The scholarship supports an accounting major who maintains a qualified grade point average, and who has and cares for a pet.
Gress and his wife also contribute to a new area of study at Canisius, which is close to their hearts. The couple recently made a generous gift to the Animal Behavior Program, which educates students as to how animal behaviors evolve and relate to the biology and ecology of a species. The Gress’ sponsored an international symposium on the future of zoos. Hosted by Canisius, the event brought visionaries from leading zoological parks, conservation societies and architecture firms, and attracted national media attention.
The Gress’ made their gifts in memory of their late cats, Simba and Sparky.
"We are fascinated by the animal behavior program at Canisius and wanted to do something to help," says Al Gress. "I am proud of Canisius -- this is my family, not just my father, but all the people I have known here."