Ensuring a Tradition of Excellence

November 13, 2018


Buffalo, NY - It was a simple reminder. One that came by way of a phone conversation between Canisius Fund student caller Tiffani Smith ’19 and Mercedes D. Peeples-Gates ’06 and inspired the alumna to make her first gift to the college. 

Like Smith, who is an animal behavior, ecology and conservation (ABEC) major,  Peeples-Gates spent her undergraduate years involved in student groups such as ALANA (African American, Latino/a American, Asian American and Native American), the Afro American Society and the Gospel Ensemble. She remembered fondly the balance that Canisius provided her – an exceptional education coupled with extracurricular experiences - which made her college years transformative and memorable. Hearing Smith describe her experiences reminded Peeples-Gates that what she enjoyed about Canisius is still very much ingrained on the campus for current students.

“Upholding these traditions and experiences and making sure they are alive for current students is important to me,” Peeples-Gates said.

Those opportunities added a deeper dimension to her Canisius experience but Peeples-Gates considers her education most significant to her current career. A manager at Amazon Vendor Services in Seattle, WA, where she is head of outdoors, sports and industrial supplies, Peeples-Gates credits her quick rise at the world’s largest internet retailer to the flexibility of being able to earn dual degrees in marketing and business management.              

“Canisius built in me a desire to be a leader,” Peeples-Gates concludes. “My professors focused on sharpening problem-solving skills and the ability to think on your feet.”

Her recent gift to the Canisius Fund now helps current students start out on the best foot possible.