Senior Leadership Team
The senior leadership team at Canisius College includes President John J. Hurley, five chief administrators who oversee the key functional areas of the institution, and the president’s associate vice president.
Dr. Sara Morris was appointed as vice president for academic affairs in 2020. Morris joined the Canisius College faculty in 1996 as an assistant professor of biology, and subsequently rose through the academic ranks to become full professor and coordinator of the college’s Environmental Science Program and then co-chair of the Biology Department. During this time, Morris secured funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish the Science Scholars Program at Canisius, which provides scholarships and creative learning opportunities to students interested in pursuing careers in the biological sciences. Known by her colleagues as a collaborative leader, Morris’ peers elected her to serve on the Faculty Senate, the Faculty Status Committee and the Strategic Planning Committee.
In 2015, Canisius elevated Morris to associate vice president for academic affairs, a role in which she led the oversight of all curricula, including coordination with the New York State Department of Education and Middle States Commission on Higher Education. In this position, Morris also modernized the college’s curriculum management systems and oversaw the implementation of Canisius’ interactive catalog, course scheduling software and curriculum inventory management. ”
Sandra M. Estanek, PhD is serving as interim vice president for student affairs and dean of students. She has more than 40 years of experience in higher education, including positions as a vice president of student affairs at two Catholic universities. Dr. Estanek previously served Canisius as the director of the Higher Education and Student Affairs Administration program (HESAA) beginning in 2002 until she retired from full-time teaching in 2018. Dr. Estanek is renowned for her work in Catholic higher education, including topics on student life, Catholic identity, and mission, and has received numerous distinctions and honors. Dr. Estanek holds a bachelor’s degree from Ohio Dominican University in Columbus, Ohio; a master’s degree in political science from Ohio University; and a Ph.D. in higher education leadership from the Union Institute and University in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Danielle D. Ianni, PhD, is vice president of enrollment management. She is responsible for leading the implementation of the college’s comprehensive enrollment management plan and provides strategic leadership for undergraduate and graduate recruitment, marketing, retention and student financial aid. Danielle joined Canisius in 2020. She previously worked at the State University of New York at Buffalo where she served as director of enrollment operations. Dr. Ianni earned her undergraduate degree in accounting from Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY. She holds master’s and doctoral degrees in higher education administration, both from the University of Rochester’s Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education.
Timothy P. Balkin, CPA, is vice president for business and finance. Balkin is responsible for all financial and administrative functions of the college, including finance, audit, facilities, human resources, and business services. He works closely with President Hurley to formulate the institution’s overall fiscal strategies and serves as liaison to several Board of Trustees committees. Balkin joined Canisius College in 2021 with an MBA from the University at Buffalo, and more than 28 years of experience serving in leadership positions at Moog until his retirement in 2019. Balkin has extensive experience in all areas of corporate finance, investment management, mergers, and acquisitions. He also served on the Canisius College Board of Regents since 2014.
Canisius College named Kimberly A. Venti, of Williamsville, NY, vice president for institutional advancement in 2020. A proven leader with more than 20 years’ fundraising experience, Venti joined the college in 2018 after holding senior development positions with Roswell Park Cancer Institute, the University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Erie County Medical Center. Venti was director of development for the University at Buffalo’s Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences where she was a key staff member in raising funds to build the new downtown medical school as part of a $200 million comprehensive campaign.
Erica C. Sammarco is associate vice president and assistant to the president. Since 2010, Sammarco has served as the chief administrative support for the president and is responsible for the coordination of strategic planning and special initiatives originating from the president’s office. She serves as secretary to the college’s Board of Trustees and the school corporation. Sammarco joined the college in 2005 as the director of corporate and foundation relations.