It's All Relative

November 30, 2017


BUFFALO, NY - Deciding where to go to college can be an exciting but angst-ridden undertaking for high school seniors.  The pressure to find the perfect school – one that balances academic interests with costs and campus life – is perhaps among the most consequential decisions they’ll make in their young lives. 

Simon P. Pratt ’20 is thankful to have avoided much of that anxiety.  Of all the schools he considered for his college education, Canisius was at the top of the list. 

“When I visited, it just felt most like home,” recalls Simon.

For good reason.  The pre-med major grew up with an acute awareness of the college, as he is part of the third generation of Bartels to “inherit” a Canisius education.  His parents, Maureen (Bartels) ’82 and Michael J. Pratt ’82, are graduates of the college.  As is Simon’s brother, Colin D. ’07, and five of their uncles, two aunts, and six cousins (several of whom met and married their spouses at Canisius.)

The Bartels family tradition at Canisius originated with Simon’s late grandfather, John D. Bartels ’52, MD.  Dr. Bartels enrolled at Canisius on the G.I. Bill after he served two years in the U.S. Navy.  His (biochemistry) degree, says wife Barbara K., “set him on the path to a successful career” as a board-certified OBGYN. 

Dr. Bartels appreciated the rigors of a Canisius education and valued its Catholic, Jesuit tradition, Barbara adds.  So much so, Canisius was the only option for their children’s college education. 

“They all wanted to go away,” Barbara recalls.  “But John said they didn’t really have a choice unless another college offered something Canisius didn’t.”

Six of the Bartels’ seven children graduated from Canisius.  Two earned business degrees.  Four pursued medicine, “which is another Bartels’ family legacy,” says Maureen Bartels Pratt ’82 and one her son, Simon, plans to continue.  

“My husband and I tried not to influence Simon on where to go to college but we knew, having first-hand experience in the family, that Canisius’ biology and pre-med programs would prepare him well for medical school,” Maureen says.  They also knew Canisius could offer Simon an engaging campus life.  “Simon has such an outgoing personality.  He likes to get involved.” The All-College Honors student is speaker of the Student Senate, serves on the Commuter Student Association and is a member of the Canisius Chorale.  “He’s just thriving academically and socially,” Maureen adds. 

When Simon graduates in 2020, he’ll become the 20th member of the Bartels family to earn a Canisius degree.  Though maybe not the last.  Simon’s younger brother, William, is a sophomore at Canisius High School and if their family history is any indication, there’s a good chance the Bartels’ family tree will grow even greater at Canisius. 



John D. Bartels ’52, MD

Edward Kelly ’76, MD Bartels (Nadine Warren ’76, MBA ‘84)

James P. Bartels ’78, MD

Brian D. Bartels ’80

Maureen ’82 Bartels (Michael J. Pratt ’82)

Christopher J. ’86, MD

Jonathan B. ’90 Bartels (Aileen E. Woodrich ’90)

Colette P. (Bartels) Slaman ’04, MBA ’06, JD

Christian E. Bartels ’06, CPA, MD

Colin D. Pratt ’07

Emily O. Bartels ’08

Chantal B. ’09, MD Bartels (Conor R. Thomas ’10, PhD)

Jack ’09 Bartels (Allison M. Dombek ’07, MBA ‘10)

Ian J. Bartels ’13

Simon P. Pratt ’20