Second Acts

August 1, 2018


BUFFALO, NY -  F. Scott Fitzgerald famously stated: “There are no second acts in American lives.”  Whatever faith the renowned 20th century novelist put into that notion, it’s a sentiment not shared by present-day contemporaries. Rather, a new generation of professionals is making a conscious choice to mine their greatest potential – often midstream in their lives – to pursue personal fulfillment and social purpose by way of second-act careers. 

As many as 9 million people, ages 44 and over, are engaged in second acts, according to, a leading think tank on work and social purpose.   Another 31 million, in the same age range, report they are interested in finding a second-act career that emphasizes passion and purpose.  

Here at Canisius, the chronicles are crowded with alumni who repurposed their college educations to reinvent themselves in more rewarding ways.  Perhaps the most notable is President John J. Hurley who, in 1997, left behind a prominent career as an  attorney to make history at alma mater by becoming the college’s first lay leader.

Similar stories to President Hurley’s appear throughout the Canisius Magazine website.  Click on the individual links below to read the diverse narratives of Canisius alumni who opted to craft their own career sequels. 

Leap of Faith

William Papaj '88, MBA '11 forgoes a successful sales career to pursue the priesthood


A New Chapter

After a traumatic brain injury cut short his teaching career, Kenneth M. Sroka '65, PhD, now uses literature to help others heal


Changing Her Story

Zeneta Everhart '11 leaves a career in TV news to represent Buffalo's East Side community


Late Bloomer

Using his savings as seed money, Ralph C. Robinson '79, PhD, substituted his career as a college professor for an unlikely livelihood


Begin Again

Sepideh Yeoh MS '98 harnesses her personal experiences to help others find inner peace


Flipping Careers

Lorissa (Hint) Naugle '07 left a career in mortgage banking to open a for-purpose, for-profit business that breathes new life into old homes


Encore Career

Alan P. Pietruszewski '84 finds fame in Hollywood following his retirement from the U.S. Navy