Donor Profile: William E. Leising '72

June 22, 2015


BUFFALO, NY - “If you plan for a year, plant rice. If you plan for 10 years, plant trees. If you plan for a lifetime, educate.”  The late William E. Leising took the wisdom of this Chinese proverb to heart. A 1972 alumnus, Leising was an exemplary student who valued his Catholic, Jesuit education and its tradition of shaping minds and spirits. His Canisius education taught him how to discern the meaning of his experiences and make decisions about his life.

Those decisions led Leising to law school at St. Louis University and later to a prominent career as a Buffalo attorney, and real estate and insurance broker. For more than three decades, Leising operated his law firm out of the Main- Seneca building, where he also managed the large number of commercial properties he owned throughout Western New York and Southern Ontario.

Leising’s affluence came second, however, to his principal vocation: giving back.

Throughout his lifetime, Leising sponsored religious pilgrimages for his three aunts, who were nuns in the Sisters of Notre Dame. He, too, made religious pilgrimages to Lourdes, Fatima and Guadalupe. Leising also supported the priorities of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo as a member of the Bishop’s Council of the Laity, and lent his guidance and faith in the Gospel to the Board of Directors of the Sisters of Social Services and the Laity Board of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

Canisius has been similarly blessed by Leising’s spirit of service and philanthropy.

“Bill Leising was the consummate Canisius man,” recalls President John J. Hurley. “He was an accomplished student, and became a loyal and generous alumnus who unfailingly supported the college.”

Leising served as a Canisius Fund volunteer, an enthusiastic member of his class reunion committee and a frequent guest at the college’s various alumni events. In 1998, Leising generously established the Hubert George and Alice Shyne Leising Scholarship. Named in memory of his parents, the scholarship supports freshman students who are physically challenged and demonstrate financial need.

Leising’s generosity continues to endure, even in his passing.

Canisius recently received a $1.15 million gift from his estate. The dividends of such an endowment are vast: Leising’s gift secures a permanent source of revenue for his scholarship. It keeps a Canisius education affordable. Ultimately, Leising’s legacy will provide a lifetime of educational opportunities for Canisius students.

“Bill’s bequest to the college culminates a lifetime of giving to Canisius and we are touched by this final act of generosity,” concludes President Hurley.

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