Canisius University Unveils New Fitness Center for Students

October 6, 2020

Buffalo, NY – Canisius University students returned to campus this fall to find the Penfold-Gareis Fitness Center.  The renovated facility formally opened to students on Monday, October 5.  The college debuted the new fitness center to the campus community on Wednesday, October 7, during a ribbon-cutting ceremony. 

Open to undergraduate and graduate students, the new fitness center features an array of cardio machines, such as treadmills, arc trainers, stationary bicycles, areas for weightlifting and CrossFit training, as well as studio space for classes.  Changing rooms and showers are also available to accommodate students who live off-campus or commute.  

Fitness centers are fast becoming a required amenity for college students and, in recent years, Canisius students have voiced their concerns over the lack of general student fitness and recreation space.  (Prior to the conversion of the Penfold-Gareis Fitness Center, students shared the Pastor Weight and Aerobic Center in the Koessler Athletic Center with intercollegiate athletes.) 

Renovation of the Penfold-Gareis Fitness Center from a gathering space for students into a fitness center was a $1 million project.  It was made possible through a generous estate gift from Canisius alumnus Robert J. Gareis ’58 and a multiyear commitment from longtime Canisius supporters Richard C. ’68 and Karen Penfold.  The Undergraduate Student Association also contributed $50,000.   

So as to ensure the health and wellbeing of all students, the college has implemented several protocols in accordance with New York State guidelines related to Covid-19 and the opening of fitness facilities.  In order to use the fitness center, students are required to download the mobile app, MINDBODY, to reserve a workout time.  When checking in for their reservation, students are required to show their Canisius University ID card and evidence that they completed their daily self-monitoring on the mobile app Campus Clear.  While in the facility, students must wear acceptable face coverings at all time and maintain social distancing of at least six feet.  All equipment must be wiped down after each use, and the use of showers and drinking fountains is not permitted. 

One of 27 Jesuit universities, Canisius is the premier private university in Western New York. Canisius celebrates its sesquicentennial anniversary during the 2019-20 academic year, marking 150 years of Jesuit education and leadership in the city of Buffalo and Western New York. Visit for more information about Canisius’ milestones and celebratory events.