Canisius Announces 2016 Commencement Speakers

December 3, 2015


BUFFALO, NY – Internationally-renowned author, speaker and editor-at-large of the national Catholic magazine, America, and a venture capitalist originally from Lancaster, NY will address the Canisius College Class of 2016 during commencement ceremonies in May.

Rev. James Martin, SJ, of America magazine, will address the Canisius College undergraduate Class of 2016 on Saturday, May 21 at 10:00 a.m. Terrance McGuire, founding partner of Polaris Partners, will address the Canisius College graduate Class of 2016 on Wednesday, May 18 at 7:00 p.m. Both ceremonies will be held in the college’s Koessler Athletic Center.

Rev. James Martin, SJ, began working at America magazine in 1995 as associate editor and has since served as culture editor, acting publisher and now as editor-at-large. He is the author of several books including the most recent, The Abbey: A story of discovery. In Father Martin’s debut novel, the stories of his characters’ struggles, questions and crises show how God uses worries, anger, doubts, prayers, failures and longings to help people feel wholly loved. Father Martin’s memoir, My Life with the Saints, has sold more than 120,000 copies and is used in universities, high schools, parishes and book clubs around the world, and used in hundreds of U.S. parishes.

In addition to his work as an author, Father Martin has written for The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and O Magazine. He has commented on religion and spirituality in the national and international media, appearing on all the major radio and television networks, as well as The History Channel, the BBC, National Geographic TV, Voice of America and Vatican Radio. Father Martin also served as the chaplain on Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report.”

Father Martin graduated from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business in 1982, where he received his bachelor’s degree in economics with a concentration in finance. He

worked six years in corporate finance with General Electric, in New York City and Stamford, CT before entering the Society of Jesus in 1988.

Father Martin was ordained a Catholic priest in 1999. Ten years later, he pronounced his final vows as a Jesuit. In addition to his business degree, Father Martin studied philosophy at Loyola University Chicago. He holds a master’s degree in divinity and a master’s degree in theology from the Weston Jesuit School of Theology (now Boston College School of Theology and Ministry).  

Terrance McGuire is best known for his work commercializing academic research, particularly in the life sciences. He has more than 25 years of successful early-stage investing experience in medical and information technology companies.

As a venture capitalist, McGuire has invested in 48 companies. He also co-founded three companies: Inspire Pharmaceuticals (sold to Merck), AIR (sold to Alkermes) and MicroCHIPS. The companies McGuire has supported have touched more than 60 million patients and directly saved more than 400,000 lives. These companies have also raised upwards of $6 billion in equity and corporate capital. As a group, they have achieved a combined peak enterprise value of $40 billion.

In addition to his work with Polaris, McGuire co-founded the former BioNetwork in Buffalo, which brought together entrepreneurs, business leaders and venture capitalists to energize the region’s life sciences industry.

McGuire began his career in venture capital at Golder, Thoma and Cressey in Chicago. He later moved to Burr, Egan, Deleage & Co., before founding Polaris in 1996.

McGuire holds a BS in physics and economics from Hobart College, an MS from the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College, and an MBA from the Harvard Business School. He is also a recipient of the Albert Einstein Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Life Sciences. Forbes listed him as one of its “Top Life Sciences Investors” in 2013. And in 2015, Scientific American named McGuire among its “Worldview 100 Visionaries” for his efforts to reshape biotechnology and the world.

Canisius will confer honorary doctorate degrees upon Terrance McGuire and Father Martin during commencement ceremonies. Also receiving honorary doctorate degrees are Edwin Mirand, PhD, DSc (doctor of science), vice president emeritus for educational affairs at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) and a former senior advisor to five previous RPCI presidents; Michael S. Taheri, a partner in the law firm of Taheri and Todoro PC and a lay missionary at St. Luke’s Mission of Mercy; and Joseph Sr. and Shirley Basil, the retired founders and owners of the Basil Automotive Group.

For more information about Canisius College commencement ceremonies, contact the Office of Public Relations at 716-888-2790.

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