A Look Back at Commencement 2024

May 19, 2024
Commencement 2024

Buffalo, NY - The Golden Griffin family grew even greater on Saturday, May 18, when the university conferred degrees upon more than 600 undergraduate and graduate students from the Canisius Class of 2024.   The day marked a cherished milestone for students, culminating four years of hard work and dedication.  It also etched a significant moment in the institution’s history, as the Class of 2024 proudly became the inaugural graduating class of Canisius University.  

“You will forever carry a unique distinction in our Canisius history,” said President Steve K. Stoute in addressing the graduates during commencement ceremonies.  “Know that I am grateful to have accompanied you on the last two years of this journey.” 

Commencement day was divided into two separate ceremonies: The first featured graduates from the College of Arts & Sciences.  The second included graduates from the School of Education and Human Services and the Richard J. Wehle School of Business.  

Leading the procession of graduates for both ceremonies was Professor Sue Margulis, PhD.  An assistant professor of animal behavior, ecology and conservation (ABEC) and biology, Margulis is the 2024 recipient of the Kenneth L. Koessler Distinguished Faculty Award.  Nominated by students and alumni, the award recognizes a Canisius professor for teaching excellence and outstanding contributions to the academic world.  

Damar Hamlin Canisius
Damar Hamlin receives an honorary degree for his work toward community building after a personal tragedy

Those same themes of excellence and outstanding contributions were echoed by former U.S. Congressman Brian Higgins, who delivered the commencement address at both of Saturday’s ceremonies.  Higgins shared anecdotes from his own journey to encourage students to “live a life of courage and leadership” and emphasized “the limitless potential of the human heart.”  Drawing inspiration from Pope Francis, Higgins underscored the importance of unity amidst diversity, reminding the collective audience that “hearts and minds can meet in the love of Jesus.” 

For his long career in Congress and commitment to public service, Canisius conferred an honorary degree upon Brian Higgins.  The university also conferred honorary degrees upon Mary McLean Wilson, a life trustee of the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, which is committed to improving the quality of life in Western New York and Buffalo Bills’ safety Damar R. Hamlin, who inspired people around the country – and the world – when he suffered cardiac arrest during a Monday Night Football game.  Hamlin not only recovered from his injury and returned to the team, he also leveraged the experience to help others. 

In addition to the conferral of honorary and formal degrees, each ceremony included an address from a student speaker.  

Student Speaker: Hannah Hamilton
Hannah Rose Hamilton MSEd ’24, delivered an important message about leadership within our shared community to graduates from the School of Education and Human Services and the Richard J. Wehle School Business.
Student Speaker: Jayseana Jackson
Jayseana Jackson ’24, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy and minors in studio art and art history, delivered an optimistic message about shared possibility to her peers from the College of Arts and Sciences.

More Commencement Materials

Looking for more ways to relive commencement? Find some options below: