Commencement 2017

February 7, 2017

BUFFALO, NY – Two Canisius University alumni will address the undergraduate and graduate classes of 2017, during commencement ceremonies in May. 

Christine M. Licata-Culhane ’67, MS ’71, EdD, will deliver remarks to the graduate Class of 2017 on Wednesday, May 17 at 7:00 p.m.  Nelson D. Civello ’67 will address the Canisius University undergraduate Class of 2017 on Saturday, May 20 at 10:00 a.m.

Christine Licata-Culhane is the senior associate provost and professor in the Division of Academic Affairs at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT).  She has worked in the field of education for more than 40 years.  In her current role, Licata-Culhane is responsible for providing oversight and support for academic program development, and advancing student academic success and retention initiatives.  She also serves as the university’s liaison with the State of New York Department of Education and oversees the accreditation process. 

Prior to her position as senior associate provost, Licata-Culhane served in various faculty and administrative positions at RIT including as department chair and associate dean.  She also has experience within both community college and K-12 settings.  Licata-Culhane is widely known for her research in the areas of faculty evaluation and, specifically, post-tenure review.  She is the author of one of the first national reports and three books on this topic. 

Licata-Culhane holds a BS in business administration management and an MS in education, both from Canisius University.  She earned an EdD in higher education from George Washington University.  Licata-Culhane is a member of her class reunion committee at Canisius and is past vice chair of the Board of Trustees.

Nelson D. Civello is the retired president of the Fixed Income Capital Markets Group for Dain Rauscher Corp and past chair of The Bond Market Association.  In these roles, Civello doubled the fixed income business for the full-service brokerage and investment banking firm, at a time when others were experiencing declining revenue or abandoning the business.  He similarly grew the fixed income capital markets group for The Bond Market Association to employ 350 people in 20 U.S. locations and generated revenues of approximately $100 million per year.

Civello returned to alma mater following his retirement to launch the Golden Griffin Fund (GGF) and establish the Financial Markets Lab, from which the GGF operates.  The GGF is a student-run investment management program that allows students to make real investments using real money.  Civello was a visiting professor in the program until his retirement in 2008.  He now works to raise awareness of and resources for stomach cancer patients through Debbie’s Dream Foundation and the DeGregorio Foundation: Finding a Cure for Stomach Cancer. 

Civello holds a BS in economics from Canisius.  He is a past member of the college’s Board of Trustees, a recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award and an inductee to the DiGamma Honor Society. 

Canisius will confer honorary degrees upon Civello and Licata-Culhane during commencement ceremonies.  In addition, receiving honorary degrees are Bishop Matthew H. Clark, Michael “Mitch” Flynn, Amy J. Habib MS ’63, and L. Nelson “Nick” Hopkins, MD.

Bishop Matthew H. Clark is the retired bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rochester.  He served in this role for 33 years, during which time he served as the spiritual leader for more than 300,000 Catholics in a diocese that spans 12 counties, has 130 parishes, 24 Catholic schools and a wide network of Catholic Charities agencies.  Pope John Paul II ordained Clark a bishop in May 1979, at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.  He was installed as the eighth Bishop of Rochester one month later. 

Mitch Flynn is the owner and creative director of Flynn & Friends, a celebrated boutique advertising agency located in Buffalo, NY.  He is also the founder of the Ride for Roswell, an annual charity event to support Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Flynn has chaired or co-chaired the event since its inception in 1995. The 2016 event drew more than 7,000 cyclists and brought in more than $4.5 million to support the hospital. To date the event has raised more than $38 million in its 21-year history.

Amy Habib is past chair of the board of directors for Petri Baking Products Inc., which manufactured more than 200 different varieties of cookies under the Petri, Bakery Fresh and other private label brands. She and her family are also generous supporters of numerous local organizations, including the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo and Canisius University, where they established the Norman, Saide L. & Bedie N. Joseph Scholarship in 1985.  Habib is a former member of the Canisius University Board of Trustees and recipient of the LaSalle Medal and Regents Distinguished Citizen Award.  She earned her MS from Canisius in 1963. 

Nick Hopkins, MD, is an internationally recognized pioneer of endovascular neurosurgery.  As a distinguished professor of neurosurgery and professor of radiology in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo, he trains a new generation of neurosurgeon leaders to be skilled in catheter-based technology for minimally invasive neurosurgery.  Hopkins is also president of the Gates Vascular Institute, and president and CEO of the Jacobs Institute and its Center for Innovation in Medicine. 

For more information about Canisius University commencement ceremonies, contact the Communications Office at 716-888-2790. 

Canisius is one of 28 Jesuit universities in the nation and the premier private university in Western New York.