Canisius to Confer Distinguished Citizen Award Upon Candace S. Johnson, PhD

April 9, 2018


BUFFALO, NY - The Canisius College Board of Regents will confer its Distinguished Citizen Award upon Candace S. Johnson, PhD, president and chief executive officer of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, during its 52nd annual Regents Scholarship Ball on Saturday, May 5 at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo.  The awards presentation begins at 7:30 p.m. Dinner will immediately follow.  The Board of Regents confers the Distinguished Citizen Award, annually, to recognize an individual for his/her contributions to the economic, civic and/or cultural well-being of Western New York. 

Candace Johnson is Roswell Park’s 15th president and CEO and the first female leader in its 120-year history.  Since her appointment in 2015, she has re-energized the center, largely by attracting and recruiting the world’s best physicians and researchers to Western New York.  Under Johnson’s strategic vision, Roswell Park also increased its productivity and visibility, introduced innovative cancer vaccines, announced plans for a new radiation oncology collaboration and launched a spin-off biotech company dedicated to identifying groundbreaking immunologic approaches to treating cancer. 

Prior to being named president and CEO, Johnson led Roswell Park’s research activities as deputy director of the institution.  She also served as chair of the Roswell Park Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics for more than a decade, a role in which she facilitated the seamless bench-to-bedside development and delivery of promising new cancer therapies.  Highlights of her tenure in this role include the renewal of Roswell Park’s Cancer Center Support Grant funding from the National Cancer Institute and the establishment of two new hallmark programs at Roswell: the Center for Immunotherapy and the Center for Personalized Medicine. 

Johnson earned her doctoral degree in immunology from Ohio State University in Columbus, OH.  She later completed research and postdoctoral fellowships in immunology and cell biology at the Michigan Cancer Foundation in Detroit, MI. 

Johnson is a member of the National Institutes of Health Reviewers Reserve and the boards of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network and Association of American Cancer Institutes.  She is also associated with many professional and scientific societies.  Locally, Johnson serves on the boards of the Catholic Health System, the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, the Buffalo Niagara Partnership and the Sacred Heart Academy STEM Advisory Board. 

A prolific writer, Johnson is the author or co-author of nearly 200 journal articles, book chapters and abstracts.  She also holds two patents and is the recipient of numerous honors and awards.  In 2016, The Buffalo News presented Johnson with its Outstanding Citizen Award and the New York State Senate conferred upon her its Woman of Distinction recognition. The New York State University at Buffalo School of Management awarded Johnson its Executive of the Year distinction.  That same year, the Clarence Chamber of Commerce also named Johnson its Woman of the Year. 

Roswell Park is the only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive care center in Upstate New York.  Founded in 1898, the center provides care to approximately 36,000 patients annually and employs more than 3,300 team members who are dedicated to unleashing the healing power of hope. 

Canisius College Board of Regents member Mary Perna Greenwald ’84, MBA ’96 and her husband, Tom Greenwald ’82, are co-chairs of the 52nd annual Regents Ball.  Tickets for the event are now on sale: Tables of 10 are available at the Magis Level for $5,500, the Ignatian Level for $3,500, and the Griffin Level for $2,500.  Individual tickets are also available at the following prices: $550 (Magis), $350 (Ignatian) and $250 (Griffin).  Tables for young alumni (2008-2017) are available for $1,250.  Individual tickets for young alumni are $125.     

To purchase tickets or learn about sponsorship opportunities, visit or contact Courtney Sullivan, assistant director of advancement events, at 716-888-2710 or at

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