Like Mother, Like Daughter

November 30, 2017


BUFFALO, NY - When Marvel Ross-Jones ’73, MBA ‘78, EdM, PhD, moved her daughter into the Canisius dorms, she “couldn’t believe how much the campus had changed in 20 years.”  Canisius modernized its classrooms.  The African American Student population swelled.  “And the residence hall floors were now co-ed,” she laughs. 

It was a “proud moment” when daughter April (Jones) Sanders ’98 chose to continue the family legacy of a Canisius education.  Though it’s a legacy that almost never was. 

One of eight children, Marvel’s parents “couldn’t afford to set aside money for college.”  She never considered a Canisius education, until the college introduced the Martin Luther King Jr. Scholarship in 1968.  Marvel applied and became an inaugural recipients. 

“The scholarship enabled me to become the first in my family to receive a four-year college education,” says Marvel, who earned an MBA from Canisius in addition to a BA in biochemistry.  The campus director for Bryant & Stratton College – Downtown Buffalo also holds an EdM in educational administration and a PhD in educational leadership and policy.  She is currently working on a second doctoral degree in global theology.

“I received a tremendous education at Canisius, which inspired in me an appetite for lifelong learning,” Marvel says.    

Her enthusiasm for education – specifically a Canisius education - set an example for her youngest sister, Alison Ross-Hooker ’86, MA.  “Without reservation,” Alison came to Canisius for her undergraduate degree in psychology.  “My Canisius education helped to open doors of opportunity that I had not previously dreamed possible” says Alison, a customer service manager in Mesquite, TX and consultant on health and wellness initiatives for the University of North Texas, Health Sciences Program. 

When it came to apply for April to apply to college, she notes, “the only place I ever wanted to go – the place I had to go – was Canisius.”  

Next to her salvation, marriage and children, April says “Canisius was the most pivotal experience in her life.” The sales communications manager for Uniland Development earned a BA in political science and an MBA from Medaille.  She will complete her doctoral dissertation in 2018.  “The education I received at Canisius set me on a great trajectory, professionally, and instilled in me, much like my mother, this enthusiasm for education and lifelong learning.”  

April now works to instill the same in her two children, Timothy and Zoe. 

She and husband, Timothy A. Sanders ’98, who met freshman year, frequently bring the twins to campus.  They visit the library, participate in summer camps and assist with CrossNation, a non-denominational campus-wide ministry established by April and Tim to give inspiration to college students and working families in the community. 

“They’re still young (just 13) but already our kids talk about how they want to come to Canisius for college,” Sanders says.  “Ultimately, it will be their decision but we’ll be so proud if they choose to continue the family legacy at alma mater.”


Marvel Ross Jones ’73, MBA ’78, EdM, PhD

Alison C. (Ross) Hooker ’86, MA

April (Jones) Sanders ’98, MBA

Timothy Sanders ’98

Timothy Sanders Jr. ’??

Zoe Sanders ‘??