The senior leadership team at Canisius University includes President Steve K. Stoute, eight key administrators who oversee the major operational areas of the institution, and the president’s chief of staff.
Dr. Sara Morris was appointed as vice president for academic affairs in 2020. Morris joined the Canisius University faculty in 1996 as an assistant professor of biology, and subsequently rose through the academic ranks to become full professor and coordinator of the college’s Environmental Science Program and then co-chair of the Biology Department. During this time, Morris secured funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish the Science Scholars Program at Canisius, which provides scholarships and creative learning opportunities to students interested in pursuing careers in the biological sciences. Known by her colleagues as a collaborative leader, Morris’ peers elected her to serve on the Faculty Senate, the Faculty Status Committee and the Strategic Planning Committee.
In 2015, Canisius elevated Morris to associate vice president for academic affairs, a role in which she led the oversight of all curricula, including coordination with the New York State Department of Education and Middle States Commission on Higher Education. In this position, Morris also modernized the college’s curriculum management systems and oversaw the implementation of Canisius’ interactive catalog, course scheduling software and curriculum inventory management. ”
Harold O. Fields, EdD, joined Canisius University in 2022 as the vice president for student affairs and dean of students. Fields was most recently director of Residence Life at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he has served in various roles since 2008. As the leader of the Division of Student Affairs, Fields will be responsible for divisional strategic planning and assessment efforts and for overall operations in areas of: the ALANA Student Center; Campus Ministry; the Counseling Center; international student programs; new student orientation; public safety; the Office of Student Life (residence life, judicial affairs, student engagement and clubs, leadership development, event services, intermural sports, and athletic facilities operations), Title IX coordinator and the Student Health Center. The vice president for student affairs also is jointly responsible (with the vice president for academic affairs) for the overall operations of the Griff Center for Student Success (career services, tutoring services, veterans’ services, accessibility support services, parent programs) and the Office of Study Abroad and International Partnerships. Fields holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Clarion University of Pennsylvania, a master’s degree in student affairs in higher education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a doctor of education degree in higher education administration from the University of Rochester.
Danielle D. Ianni, PhD, is vice president of enrollment management. She joined Canisius in 2020 and is responsible for leading the implementation of the college’s comprehensive enrollment management plan and provides strategic leadership for undergraduate and graduate recruitment, marketing, retention and student financial aid. She previously worked at the State University of New York at Buffalo where she served as director of enrollment operations. Ianni earned her undergraduate degree in accounting from Hartwick College in Oneonta, NY. She holds master’s and doctoral degrees in higher education administration, both from the University of Rochester’s Margaret Warner Graduate School of Education.
Timothy P. Balkin, CPA, is vice president for business and finance. Balkin is responsible for all financial and administrative functions of the college, including finance, audit, facilities, human resources, and business services. He works closely with President Stoute to formulate the institution’s overall fiscal strategies and serves as liaison to several Board of Trustees committees. Balkin joined Canisius University in 2021 with an MBA from the University at Buffalo, and more than 28 years of experience serving in leadership positions at Moog until his retirement in 2019. Balkin has extensive experience in all areas of corporate finance, investment management, mergers, and acquisitions. He also served on the Canisius University Board of Regents since 2014.
Sandra M. Estanek, PhD, serves as the interim vice president for mission integration.
The vice president is responsible for developing mission formation programs for the Canisius community, including trustees, faculty and staff. The vice president leads the Office of Mission and Ministry, which includes campus ministry, the university chaplain and the New Buffalo Institute.
Estanek holds a bachelor’s degree from Ohio Dominican University, a master’s degree from Ohio University and a doctorate in higher education leadership from the Union Institute and University. Her research specialty is Catholic higher education, and she is the author of several books and articles.
Estanek came to Canisius in 2002 as a member of the faculty and director of the master’s program in higher education and student affairs administration after a 23-year career as a university administrator. She retired from the full-time faculty in 2018, and holds the rank of professor emerita.
Bill Maher is Director of Athletics at Canisius University, where he is responsible for the leadership of the College’s 20 NCAA Division I programs. He has over 30 years of experience in higher education and intercollegiate athletics including 19 years in the role of director of athletics. Prior to his appointment at Canisius in 2005, Maher spent seven years in administrative roles at the University at Buffalo, including two years as the interim director of athletics. An alumnus and former student-athlete at Canisius, Maher also holds a master’s degree from East Stroudsburg University. He has extensive committee service experience at both the NCAA and conference level and currently serves as chair of the Buffalo Sports Commission.
Linda M. Walleshauser
Linda M. Walleshauser, SPHR, SHRM-CP, began in 2015 as Canisius’ associate vice president for human resources and compliance. Walleshauser has extensive experience in human resources. Prior to Canisius, she served as the human resources manager and member of the senior leadership team at Kaleida Health, Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, and at Goodyear Dunlop Tires of North America LTD. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in human resources from Syracuse University and has earned several professional certifications in human resources. As the leader of human resources and compliance functions, Linda serves as a key advisor and member of Canisius’ senior administration.
Cecelia Gotham ’13, MS ’15 was appointed chief of staff to the president in 2023. She previously was director of Alumni Engagement at the college.
As chief of staff, Gotham serves as an advisor to the president and fulfills a key administrative role in advancing institutional initiatives and projects, including implementation of the college’s strategic plan. A member of the president’s Senior Leadership Team (SLT), the chief of staff assists in facilitating meetings of the SLT, oversees implementation of the communications strategy, and participates on critical internal committees, representing the president. The chief of staff also serves as secretary to the college’s Board of Trustees and the school corporation.
Gotham began her career at Canisius as assistant director of Stewardship and Events in 2014. She then served as associate director of regional volunteers and programs at the University of Rochester, and as assistant director of donor relations at Fordham University.
Gotham holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a master’s degree in communication and leadership, both from the college.