William H. Fitzpatrick Institute of Public Affairs and Leadership

Pictured Above: Former Governor of Michigan Jennifer Granholm speaks at Montante Cultural Center as part of the Fitzpatrick Lecture Series.

The William H. Fitzpatrick Institute of Public Affairs and Leadership at Canisius College remains true to William Fitzpatrick's guiding belief that political leaders can be trained for the profession of politics. The highly acclaimed Fitzpatrick Lecture Series continues within the context of an academic institute at Canisius that sponsors additional academic initiatives to enrich the learning environment and opportunities for its students.

Besides the lecture series, The Fitzpatrick Institute sponsors and facilitates other public affairs and leadership programming, such as more focused lectures, workshops and symposia, with the intention of bringing Canisius students into close contact with ideas and people who are contributing to American political life.

The Fitzpatrick Institute encourages Canisius students to develop leadership potential through close contact with, and exposure to, those involved in societal leadership with travel experiences to Washington DC, Albany, New York City, and to locations abroad. Internship experiences and educational opportunities, on-campus and off, both in Western New York and elsewhere, are encouraged and supported, as is volunteerism with political campaigns, political parties, and interest groups.

All lectures are free and open to the public, but seating is limited.

Past Speakers

For over fifty years, the Fitzpatrick Lecture Series has brought prominent political leaders, journalists, Supreme Court justices, professors, activists and scientists. Past speakers include:

  • Harry S. Truman
  • Theodore C. Sorensen
  • William J. Brennan, Jr.
  • Carl Bernstein
  • Diane Sawyer
  • Neil Sheehan
  • Jimmy Carter
  •  Terry Anderson
  • Bernice A. King
  • Charles E. Schumer
  • John Kasich
  • Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
  • Jane Goodall 
  • Karl Rove

Advisory Committee

Peter J. Galie, PhD, Political Science

Kevin Hardwick, PhD, Political Science

John Moloney, Fitzpatrick family

Paul Moloney, Fitzpatrick family

John Occhipinti, PhD, Political Science

Jack O’Donnell, Alumnus

Molly Oshei, Fitzpatrick family

Catherine Ratigan, Fitzpatrick family

Coral Snodgrass, PhD, Management/Marketing

Donna Vullo, Alumna

Timothy Wadkins, PhD, Religious Studies

Leadership Fellows

Undergraduates with a cumulative QPA of 2.5 or higher who posess a desire to develop leadership skills and community awareness concerning a particular issue are eligible to apply to be Fitzpatrick Leadership Fellows.

Two students earn $1,000 per semester for the academic year. They receive a budget and guidance as they develop and implement public affairs programming, with the goal of educating the Canisius community regarding a public discussion or policy issue.