For more than 50 years, the All-College Honors program has embodied what is best about Canisius College. It brings outstanding students to Western New York and engages them in exciting research, scholarship and artistic endeavors. Through specially designed course and co-curricular experiences such as scholarly travel, the Honors program strengthens the entire Canisius community.
In order to attract and engage the most talented undergraduate students in the country, Canisius needs to significantly raise the level of support for Honors. Your support will allow the college to compete with peer institutions with far greater financial resources to recruit gifted students.
Our ability to educate those students will be augmented by the development of:
- New interdisciplinary courses that include fine arts and science
- An Honors lecture series
- Local, regional and national scholarly travel
- Independent study opportunities and research projects
- A visiting professorship or symposium
- An Honors Student Center
Your gift to the All-College Honors program enriches the lives of current students and also represents your investment in our community and its future. Click here to make a gift.
For more information about giving to the All-College Honors program, please contact:
Mary Ellen Bakowski
Office of Development
2001 Main Street
Buffalo, NY 14208
Honors Donor Profile: Edward and Mary Jane Szczesniak
Ed and Mary Jane generously endowed a fund in their name for the Honors Program
Edward J. Szczesniak has a demonstrated record of leadership and service to country, to community, and to the Democratic Party. His knowledge, experience, and willingness to share it have earned him a reputation as an expert in election administration as well as political campaigning at the local, state and national levels. He and his wife of 50 years, Mary Jane, live in the Town of Cicero in Onondaga County, New York.
Ed Szczesniak was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the US Army in 1965 and was on active duty from January 1966 through July 1971 serving tours of duty in Korea (company executive officer) and Viet Nam (company commander). He was transferred to the United States Army Reserves and retired from the Military with the distinguished rank of Lieutenant Colonel. He is the recipient of the Bronze Star Medal, the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, and many other United States and Vietnam military decorations. Ed is a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 951.
Ed Szczesniak has been a leader in the Democratic Party. He was elected Democratic Commissioner of Elections for the Onondaga County Board of Elections in 1991 and had been re-elected every two years since then and retired on 2/7/08. Ed has served as chair of the Executive Committee of the New York State Election Commissioners Association (NYSECA) and as chair of the Democratic Caucus of the NYSECA. In 2003, he was selected to be the first Democratic representative for New York State to the federal Election Assistance Commission Standards Board and served thru January 2008.
His interest in public office began in 1981 when he ran for the office of Clay Town Supervisor. Not to be discouraged, Ed ran for the County Legislature in 1983, in 2009, and in 2015 losing by less than 138 votes. He has been a key campaign coordinator for Assemblyman Michael Bragman, former Majority Leader of the New York State Assembly, and in 1986 he was campaign manager for Rosemary Pooler, candidate for the 27th US Congressional district. After six years of tireless work on behalf of the Democratic Party and its candidates, Ed was elected Chairman of the Onondaga County Democratic Committee in 1988 and led the party until 1994. In 1988, he was elected and since then re-elected to the Executive Committee of the New York State Democratic Committee and, since 1992, he has been elected and reelected as a Vice Chair of the New York State Democratic Committee. Ed was a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1992 and a Rules Committee member for the Democratic National Convention in 1996. He was recognized as the Onondaga County Democrat of the Year in 1997 and Clay Democrat of the Year in 2005 as well as with the Valley Democratic Club’s “ U Dun Good” award in 1998.
Ed Szczesniak has an impressive history of community service. He served as Chairman of the Board of Managers of the North Area YMCA and was President of the Greater North Syracuse Chamber of Commerce. In addition, Ed was co-founder and first President of the FB Federal Credit Union and was elected to numerous leadership positions, including President and Junior Football League Commissioner while a member of the Liverpool Jaycees. He became a Knight of Columbus in 1965 and served as Grand Knight for the Bishop Cunningham Council 10904 and as Faithful Captain for the Bishop O”Keefe Assembly 2663 in Cicero, New York. He achieved the honors of membership in the Knights of Columbus NYS Council Circle of Honor Gold for the 2013-2014 Columbian Year. As Grand Knight, he led his Council to the Supreme Council’s highest award - Star Award for 2012-2013 and Double Star Award for 2013-2014. He was recognized as his Council’s 2015 Knight of the Year. Ed has served Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Cicero as a member of it’s parish council for 3 years.
Ed Szczesniak was involved in real estate investment and development for over thirty-five years. He owned and managed a combination of residential and commercial properties. He was also employed by Miller Brewing Company in Fulton, New York as the Manpower Coordinator, and prior to that time, he was an account executive with Merrill, Lynch, Pierce, Fenner and Smith in Niagara Falls, NY.
Ed Szczesniak was born in Buffalo, New York on November 22, 1943. He graduated from Canisius High School in 1961 and from Canisius College in 1965 with a B.S. degree in history. Ed is a member of the Canisius College Alumni Association, with his wife Mary Jane have created an Honors and a Polish Heritage scholarships, and because of his leadership and hard work on behalf of the college, he was inducted into the college’s prestigious Di Gamma Honor Society. Ed and Mary Jane (Nagowski) have three sons: Jim (Karen), Mark (Nancy) and David (Jennifer). Their eight grandchildren include Sydney Marie (1995), Ian James (1996), twin grandsons, Brian Alexander and Joshua Grey (1999), Heather Tesia (2001), Emma Victoria (2002), Eric Michael (2003) and Mason Edward (2006).
Student Story: Pat Collins
Pat Collins ‘20
Orchard Park, NY
My Academic Passions: My interest in finance and the business world began at a young age. I have always possessed a quantitative mind, one which is fascinated by the investigation of empirical data, statistics, and analysis. After enrolling in finance courses at Canisius through the Wehle School of Business, I recently became intrigued by the idea of financial planning. In the future, I aspire to educate Americans of all ages about the importance of financial literacy and help them to prepare and save accordingly for their future.
Importance of Honors: The All-College Honors Program has been a staple of my college tenure. Joining this community of academically gifted intellectuals has been one of the most extraordinary parts of my Canisius experience. Through its rigorous curriculum, Honors has helped me to enhance my critical thinking skills, increase my intellectual horizons, and prepare for entering the workforce. I have also had the opportunity to visit major American cities, such as Boston, Cleveland, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C. through Honors-sponsored travel trips, all of which have proven to be unforgettable experiences.
Beyond the Classroom: During my time at Canisius, I have secured several internships to supplement my academic experience. Over the past three years, I have worked at the following locations: the Goldberg Segalla law office, the Martin Group marketing & communications agency, the Brown Security Solutions security firm, and the Pegula Sports & Entertainment management company. In addition to my internship experience, I serve as an assistant swimming coach at Canisius High School, a lifeguard at the Orchard Park Country Club, and a resident assistant in the Honors Program’s 1st-year dormitory.
Down the Road: Upon graduating from Canisius College, I hope to use my academic experience in the classroom to become a financial planner or financial analyst. I plan to attend graduate school to pursue my MBA or MS in Finance.
Thank You: I am grateful for generous benefactors like the Szczesniaks who have supported the All-College Honors Program. Their financial contribution helps Honors students receive a well-rounded, Jesuit education at Canisius College. With their continued commitment, our program can make a difference in the lives of our bright and motivated students for years to come.