CANISIUS COLLEGE MAGAZINE â€˘ WINTER 2013
DISCOVERY ZONE Canisius opens a new world-class science facility fit for its world-class science programs.
John J. Hurley
Canisius College Magazine WINTER 2013 VOLUME 14, ISSUE 1
President John J. Hurley Associate Vice President for Marketing and Communication & Executive Editor Debra S. Park MS ’06 Managing Editor Audrey R. Browka
This issue of Canisius Magazine goes to press at the end of a very eventful fall semester that saw us unveil a new branding initiative for the college (p. 16). Market research and focus groups told us that academics at Canisius are paramount. I think we knew that but the more surprising thing that emerged from the research was that Canisius has a distinctive brand of academic excellence. Our rigorous, demanding academic programs produce outstanding outcomes. Moreover, academics at Canisius are distinguished as much by what goes on outside the classroom as inside the classroom. Thus, our new campaign urges students to “think beyond the classroom” and “go exploring.” We encourage students to take advantage of research opportunities with faculty, and a wide range of unique co-curricular and extra-curricular activities. This was never more evident than this fall when Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney, one of the world’s greatest living poets, visited Canisius under the auspices of our Contemporary Writers Series organized by English Professor Mick Cochrane, PhD and arranged through the efforts of our trustee Joseph Hassett ’64, PhD. Heaney’s reading in the Montante Cultural Center was a rare treat but it was surpassed the next morning when I was invited to join Heaney in Father Jim Pribek’s Irish literature class. Each student was given the opportunity to ask Heaney one question. The questions were profound, the dialog rich and I was left thinking, “What an amazing opportunity for our students.”
Director of Creative Services & Layout Editor Andalyn Courtney Contributing Designer James Neiler Contributing Writers Elizabeth M. Bohen ’74, MS ’76 Kristin E. Etu ’91 Rachel Flammer Martin J. Haumesser Eileen C. Herbert ’04 Robert R. Hill Marion A. Jagodzinski Jennifer M. Koch, PhD Lisa Murray Roselli Photography Eric Frick Tom Wolf ’86 Yung Gen Yang Photography To Contact Us We are eager to hear your comments about Canisius College Magazine. Please send correspondence to: Canisius College Magazine 2001 Main Street, Lyons Hall Room 209, Buffalo, NY 14208 Phone 716-888-2790 Fax 716-888-2778
A few weeks later, our Canisius Chorale, under the direction of Frank Scinta, had the opportunity to perform Vivaldi’s "Gloria" with the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, during their annual concert on campus. As I watched and listened to our students perform with Buffalo’s world-class orchestra, I again was filled with pride in what Canisius students can accomplish when they think beyond the classroom and go exploring. My best wishes to the entire Canisius family for a healthy, prosperous and blessed New Year!
Postmaster send change of address to: Canisius College, 2001 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14208
12 | Cover Story
Discovery Zone Canisius takes a giant step toward new scientific discovery with the opening of Science Hall.
8 | Student Profile Forbidden Island Canisius students explore the contradictions of the Cuban nation.
6 | Athletics Game On! Head Coach Jim Barron resurrects men’s basketball.
BLUE & GOLD BRIEFS
CAMPUS NEWS AND NOTES
faculty NEWS AND updates
16 | Added Feature
25 | Alumni Profile
Brand NEw Canisius calls attention to its unique educational experience with the launch of a new brand campaign.
Field of Dreams James Dobmeier ’80 champions his home turf as a national player in a competitive industry.
C ANISIUS CONNECTIONs
as you were
A LUMNI NE WS A ND NOTE S
stories from the past
On the cover: Biology major Cristal Gonzalez ’16 checks out the newly-opened Science Hall, while standing in front of the building’s living green wall.
Board of Trustees/Regents Appoints New Members The Canisius College Board of Trustees appointed seven new members to fill outgoing positions. The Board formulates and recommends policy to Canisius President John J. Hurley. Members serve three-year terms. The newly-appointed members of the Board of Trustees are pictured at the right. The Canisius College Board of Regents also appointed five new members to serve Teresa M. Amabile ’72, PhD three-year terms. The Board of Regents Edsel Bryant Ford Professor of serves as an advisory group to the Board Business Administration Harvard Business School of Trustees. The new members are: Kurt C. Bingeman ’71, president and owner of Russell Bond & Co. Inc.; John P. Comerford ’90, attorney with Lipsitz & Ponterio LLC; Suzanne C. Eberhard ’85, MBA ’88, executive vice president and director of credit management at Toronto Dominion Bank; Andrew L. Fors ’95, MS ’98, partner at Summer Street Capital Partners LLC; and William C. Thuman ’73, senior vice president of the Thuman Group/RBC Wealth Management.
Edward Burke Carey ’69 President Carey Reality Investments Inc.
Michael A. Ervolina Jr. ’79 President Valu Home Centers
Rev. Louis T. Garaventa, S.J. History Teacher Xavier High School
Ronald A. Raccuia ’90 President Integrity Office/ADPRO Sports
James E. Sherwood ’68, PhD Executive Dean/Campus CEO Suffolk Community College
Lawrence J. Vilardo ’77 Partner Connors & Vilardo LLP
In Memoriam George E. Schreiner ’43, HON ’73, MD, a legendary physician, medical lobbyist and scientist in the field of nephrology, died in April in Reston, VA. He was 89.
George E. Schreiner ’43, HON ’73, MD
“Dr. Schreiner gave himself completely to his career but his heart always remained close to Canisius,” recalls President John J. Hurley. “He is remembered as a role model by medical alumni and as a good friend to Canisius.”
A pioneering clinical researcher in the use of the artificial kidney, Schreiner helped build Georgetown University Hospital into a world center for the study and treatment of kidney disease. He spearheaded legislation that resulted in the government's support of dialysis and kidney transplants through a Medicare program. And as president of the National Kidney Foundation, the organization established the Uniform Donor Card. At Canisius, Schreiner and his wife funded the George E. and Joanne B. Schreiner Scholarship Fund and the Schreiner Family Pre-Medical Scholarship Fund. The Dr. George E. Schreiner ’43 Pre-Medical Center owes its existence to his support to enrich pre-medical education.
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Canisius Earns Top Spots in National Rankings A host of national rankings gives Canisius high marks in everything from academics to financial aid and veterans services. Canisius again ranked in the top tier of U.S. News and World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” among regional universities in the North. Canisius also earned the magazine’s “Best Value School” recognition in this same regional category. The annual Colleges of Distinction guidebook named Canisius a 2012 Catholic College of Distinction. The publication recognized Canisius for providing real-world opportunities to undergraduates through research, participation in major scholarly conferences, internships, service-learning and service trips, and study abroad experiences. The New York Times included Canisius College on its latest list of “Good Bets for Merit Aid.” The list is comprised of approximately 100 larger schools (2,000-plus undergraduates) that award at least $5,000 in merit aid, to 10 percent or more of first-time freshmen. And for the third consecutive year, G.I. Jobs magazine named Canisius a “Military Friendly School.” The list recognizes the top 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that do the most to embrace America’s military service members and veterans as students.
blue&goldbriefs Financial Markets Lab (Re)Opens for Business Canisius now has bigger and better assets in the Nelson D. ’67 Civello Family Financial Markets Lab (FML). The lab recently underwent a $400,000 expansion and renovation project that increased the size of the FML to 1,000 square feet and added many of the same tools of the trade used on Wall Street. A four-color ticker display provides news headlines and current stock and index prices. Four LCD panels connect to live market broadcasts or can be used by faculty to display teaching materials. The FML also houses Smart Board technology and 30 student computer stations. The showpiece of the Financial Markets Lab is the Bloomberg terminal. Used by professionals throughout the industry, the Bloomberg system provides live market data and news information, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and stores information on virtually every public and private company. The Financial Markets Lab supports the college’s business programs, particularly economics and finance. WebExtra: Tour the newly-expanded Financial Markets Lab at canisius.edu/magazine.
Wood is New Associate Dean of Business School Gregory R. Wood, PhD, is the new associate dean of the Richard J. Wehle School of Business. The appointment is the latest in a long succession of positions for Wood during his 25-year tenure at Canisius. He most recently served as chair of marketing and information systems, and was instrumental in the 2011 business school reorganization that created the new department. He was chair of the Management/Marketing Department Gregory R. Wood, PhD from 2002–2009 and coordinated a joint degree program between Canisius and the Fashion Institute of Technology. As co-advisor of the Canisius College American Marketing Association (AMA), Wood helped the chapter distinguish itself as a leader in the national professional organization. Wood’s current scholarship focuses on technology and social media. He co-authored a leading information technology textbook with Linda A. Volonino, PhD, professor of information systems, and authored 16 publications in journals and conference proceedings. Wood earned his doctorate degree from the State University of New York at Albany and his undergraduate degree from Oakland University in Rochester, MI.
National Media Tune in to Canisius From bugs to bullying, the scholarship of Canisius’ esteemed professors is making national – and international - news. Producers from Dragonfly Productions traveled from the U.K. to interview Professor of Counseling & Human Services Ann Marie Lenhardt, PhD, for a documentary on bullying as it relates to school violence. Lenhardt is renowned for her research in this area. United Press International (UPI) and The Daily Beast picked up on what Political Science Professors Michael V. Haselswerdt, PhD and Kevin R. Hardwick, PhD, had to say about the potential of an electoral tie leading up to the presidential election. Prevention Magazine interviewed Assistant Professor of Biology Katie S. Costanzo, PhD, (page 12) on the nation’s unseasonably balmy weather and its effect on bugs. Bark Magazine spoke with Animal Behavior Professor Michael Noonan, PhD, about the dog-centered courses available via the Anthrozoology Program. Noonan is also quoted in Discover Magazine about the future of zoos.
He replaces James S. Valone, PhD, who held the position since 1980 and is currently on leave from Canisius. C ANISIUS COLLEGE M AGA ZINE • WINTER 2013 |
Story: Robert R. Hill
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Jim Baron’s credentials include 400 career wins, 11 postseason appearances and four coach-of-the-year awards. His pedigree also includes something harder to quantify but no less important--credibility. “You can’t argue with coach’s experience and success,” says senior guard Harold Washington. “He’s coached for a long time, he’s a proven winner, and he’s OK with letting you know what you’re doing wrong and correcting you. He’s going to teach you the right way to play. He’s not going to steer you wrong.” Baron was hired last spring to do what he’s done three times before: resurrect a basketball program. He spent the last 25 years as a Division I head coach at Rhode Island, St. Bonaventure and St. Francis University in Loretto, PA. His teams won far more than they lost. This year? The Golden Griffins shot out to their best start in 46 years, winning eight of their first 10 games, including a 72-62 upset at Temple. In November, they beat St. Bonaventure and the University at Buffalo, doing so before the first back-to-back home sellouts in 15 years. “There’s a buzz and enthusiasm around the program that hasn’t been seen in years,” says Dennis Misko ’67, a former player and director of special gifts at Canisius College. The 21st century hasn’t been kind to Canisius. The Griffs won five games last year, haven’t had a winning season since 2001, and last qualified for the NCAA Tournament in 1996. Hiring a proven winner with local ties was something of a no-brainer for Athletics Director Bill Maher ’89. “There just wasn’t anyone else like Jim in our candidate pool,” says Maher. “We wanted to bring in a veteran guy, someone with experience. Jim’s been successful at turning around three different programs at places that didn’t have all the resources in the world. All that lined up well with where we are at Canisius.” Baron, 58, inherited a team bolstered by three quality transfers. He quickly went out and recruited a fourth, son Billy, who played previously at Virginia and Rhode Island and turned down Purdue to play for his father. “My dad’s intense, really intense,” says Billy. “He likes to go 90 miles per hour, all day, every day. And that’s the way he likes his teams to play, at a frenetic pace.” Baron moves quickly off the court as well. He spends plenty of time working the fan base, drumming up support off campus and handing out tickets on it. “I’m developing a program here,” adds Baron, “and you have to do it little by little, with baby steps before you get to the big steps. It’s a process and it’ll take time, but I’m the kind of guy who sees the glass as half full. I see the potential here. I want the Koessler Center full. I’ll do whatever is needed to fill this place every night. I want this place rocking.” Come cheer on the Griffs at the Koessler Athletic Center or in your hometown. Visit gogriffs.com for a complete game schedule. PHOTOS: TOM WOLF ’86
FORBIDDEN Isl a n d C a n isius s t u de n t s ex plor e t h e con t r a dic t io ns o f t h e C u ba n nat io n. St or y: Kr is tin E. Et u '91
A contingent of Canisius students did something this past summer that very few Americans are permitted to do: They spent five weeks living and learning in the Republic of Cuba.
The Caribbean country, located just 94 miles off the coast of Florida, was once a playground for Americans. They traveled there to soak up the island’s pristine beaches, near-perfect climate and salsa soundtrack. That all changed following the 1959 Cuban Revolution.
Fidel Castro and his band of guerillas successfully overthrew Cuban President Fulgencio Batista. Within a year, Castro’s communist government seized private land, nationalized hundreds of private companies and placed heavy taxes on American products coming into the country. The U.S. responded by cutting all diplomatic and economic ties. Cuba has been a forbidden land for American tourists ever since. The Canisius students are a rare exception.
“Many students study abroad in Spain. Very few get to go to Cuba,” says Matthew J. Mullin ’14, an English and Spanish dual major. “I was excited to travel somewhere so unique, almost exotic.” Today’s Cuba, however, is a shell of its former self.
The U.S. embargo placed a stranglehold on the island’s economy.
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Construction of new infrastructure virtually froze and existing buildings continue to be left in disrepair. Up until last year, the only cars that could be freely bought or sold in Cuba were those built before Castro came into office.
In spite of suffering economically, Cuba provides a national healthcare system to its citizens. All fiscal and administrative responsibilities for it are assumed by the government. Education at every level is free, as well. The nation’s literacy rate is 97 percent. Unemployment averages 1.4 percent. And life expectancy (77 years old) is the same as the United States. Cuba is also the safest of all Latin American countries and maintains the lowest crime rate in the Western Hemisphere. “The government and the populace really need tourist dollars so they work hard to ensure tourist safety,” explains Richard D. Reitsma, PhD, assistant professor of Spanish and Latin American studies.
Reitsma led the study abroad to Cuba with the help of Tom Hansen, PhD, executive director of the Mexico Solidarity Network, who served as adjunct professor at Canisius during the trip. Their objective “was to give students a richer understanding of what the Revolution accomplished for Cuba and what still needs to change,” adds Reitsma.
The trip took nearly a year to plan.
Americans are only permitted to travel to Cuba for humanitarian, academic or family purposes and must receive approval by the U.S. Department of Treasury. Navigating all the bureaucratic paperwork is a “painstaking process,” says Reitsma, and is further compounded by U.S. policy, which mandates that American students can only receive college credit for courses offered by an accredited U.S. institution. In essence, this meant Reitsma had to develop the coursework that Canisius students would study in Cuba. That coursework consisted of Spanish language, Cuban politics and social history, as well as a class on post-Revolution Cuban cinema. Guest speakers and Cuban leaders often complemented the classes.
“We were very fortunate to hear from such high-quality speakers with diverse viewpoints,” says Milano A. Rodriguez ’13, a Latin American studies, international relations and political science major.
Students heard from gender studies expert and editor of Women of Cuba magazine Isabel Moya, PhD. Moya spoke about the disconnection between Cuba’s progressive gender discrimination laws and the traditionally sexist behaviors and stereotyping, which shape women’s roles and lives in Cuban society. She explained that Cuban women are often hesitant to “rock the boat,” in their male-dominated households, even though the law is on their side.
Cuban author, attorney and professor Julio César Guanche educated students about the 1959 Revolution and why some Cuban people still support it despite the country’s lack of freedoms and material progress.
“Many of the concepts we learned in class were readily applicable to things we did outside the classroom in Cuba,” says Rodriguez.
Beyond the classroom, Canisius students explored the Cuban plight for food, transportation and housing. One assignment required each student to purchase a week’s worth of groceries for a fictional family of three, with only 100 pesos (or the equivalent of $4 American.).
“The selection was sparse and everything was very expensive,” recalls Shannon R. Stephens ’14. The average monthly income in Cuba is between $17 - $30 U.S. dollars, notes the international relations major. Reitsma adds that each Cuban receives a monthly ration booklet with vouchers for state-subsidized, low-cost staples, such as coffee, sugar, bread and eggs. “However, on the open market, if you have the money, there are no limits on what you can purchase.”
Transportation is another problem that plagues Cubans, in large part because there is a lack of dependable vehicles to ferry people around. Bus transportation is cheaper than owning a car but the demand far outstrips what the government fleet can accommodate. Passengers are subjected to long lines and routes, over-crowded rides and inconsistent schedules. “People stand on the road for three or four hours and the bus may never come,” says Mullin, who first learned about the country’s transportation issues in Reitsma’s Cuban cinema course. All the films that students viewed addressed the country’s social justice issues, “poverty, class, race and gender,” says Mullin. “But I didn’t fully realize the struggles of these people until I was actually in Cuba and witnessed them, first-hand.”
1. The group gathers in front of Finca Vigía, the Havana-area home of Pulitzer-prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway. Front row (l-r) Shannon Stephens ’14, Jenna Alexis (SUNY-Albany), Richard Reitsma, PhD, assistant professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies and Arianne Walker ’13. Second row (l-r): Luis Orozco (Autonomous University of Social Movements). Back row: Milano Rodriguez ’13, Stephanie Petrie, ’13 Matt Mullin ’14 and Carolina Lew (George Washington University). 2. Students take time out from their studies to enjoy Varadero Beach in Matanzas, Cuba.
“Many of the con cepts we learned in class were readily applicable to thin gs we did outside the class room in Cuba,” M il a n o A . R od rig u ez '1 3
Though the country’s poverty was obvious to the Canisius group, so too was its pride. Cubans maintain a passion for life under circumstances most couldn’t begin to tolerate. Students learned these lessons in their day-to-day interactions with the Cuban people at Centro Memorial Martin Luther King Jr., a Christian-based center for social justice. “The MLK Center was our home and the staff became our family,” says Rodriguez. “They took care of anything we needed and gave us advice on how to successfully maneuver around the capital of Havana.”
Canisius students soaked up Cuban culture with excursions to Old Havana City, Varadero Beach, the Palacio de los Capitanes Generales (the former official residence of the governors) and the home of Nobel Prize-winning American author Ernest Hemingway. They sampled Cuban cuisine, relaxed by the crystal-blue ocean waters and enjoyed the sounds of the city’s ethnic salsa music – including a free street performance by singer Silvio Rodriguez who previously sold out Carnegie Hall. “We spent five weeks with an extended family of welcoming, friendly people who wanted to talk about music, art and base-
ball – not politics,” adds Mullin.
In fact, the Cuban people make a very clear distinction between Americans and the American government. “They don’t agree with American policy but nearly every Cuban has a relative living in exile in the United States, so they do have a close, personal relationship with the country,” explains Reitsma.
Shattering the myths and mysteries of this island nation was exactly what Reitsma hoped to achieve with this once-in-alifetime opportunity. After all, the students were raised to view Cuba as an enemy and an “alien place.” Today, the students see the country as a home to real people who struggle daily to raise and provide for their families.
“I wanted to share this hidden treasure with our students and give them a more nuanced picture of the United States’ relationship with Cuba,” says Reitsma. Judging by the students’ reactions, it’s safe to say his mission was accomplished. WebExtra: Visit canisius.edu/magazine for more pictures and stories from Cuba.
1. The capitol building in Havana, built in 1898 after the Spanish-American War, was modeled after the U.S. capitol building. It is currently not in use and undergoing refurbishment. 2. The graffiti and photo-covered wall at La Bodeguita del Medio, a favorite establishment of Pulitzer-prize winning author Ernest Hemingway. It’s now a popular tourist destination in Havana. 3. A portrait of Che Guevara (a major figure in the Cuban Revolution) on a building in Revolutionary Square. The inscription reads “always forward to victory.” 4. The picturesque courtyard of a hotel in Old Havana.
NSF Awards O’Sullivan $285,000 The Major Research Instrumentation Program of the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded Mary O’Sullivan, PhD, professor of chemistry/biochemistry, $285,000 for the purchase of a 400 MHz nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer. The instrument is among the most important and versatile to study structures of synthetic and biological molecules. NMR spectrometers identify unknown substances, characterize arrangements of atoms within molecules and examine the dynamics of interactions between molecules in solution. The Canisius instrument will be shared by chemistry/biochemistry faculty and students, “and be pivotal to enhancing research, research training and education at Canisius,” says O’Sullivan, who authored the NSF proposal with chemistry/biochemistry faculty co-authors: Mariusz Kozik, PhD, Timothy Gregg, PhD, Jeremy Steinbacher, PhD and Sarah Evans, PhD.
NCAA Names Smith Chair The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) appointed Andy Smith ’89 chair of its Drug Education and Testing Committee. In this role, Smith provides expertise and leadership to the NCAA in order to promote a healthy and safe environment for the nearly 400,000 student-athletes within the NCAA, through research, education, collaboration and policy development. Smith will continue in his role as director of sports medicine at Canisius, where he oversees all 17 Canisius athletic teams, and works directly with the women’s lacrosse and cross country programs. He also manages the NCAA and Canisius College drug testing programs. Andy Smith ’89
Poetic Recognition Visiting Assistant Professor of English Janet McNally ’02 is among the best new poets of 2012. McNally was selected by Best New Poets, an annual anthology established to recognize young American poets of exceptional talent and promise. She is one of only 50 new poets to be recognized by the anthology and was chosen from more than 3,000 entrants. Her poem, “Maggie Leaves the Underworld” appears in the November release of Best New Poets 2012. McNally earned a BA in English from Canisius and an MFA in creative writing from the University of Notre Dame. She teaches writing and literature in the English Department and in the All-College Honors Program.
Kahng Travels to Belgium on Fulbright Associate Professor of Mathematics Byung-Jay (BJ) Kahng, PhD, is in Leuven, Belgium this academic year as part of the J. William Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program. Kahng received a grant from the foundation to conduct research on quantum groups and non-commutative geometry at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven. This area of scholarship combines operator algebras and quantum physics. The mathematics group at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven has long been among the prominent centers for research on locally compact quantum groups and related topics. Named for Senator J. William Fulbright, the U.S. Scholar Program sends American scholars and professionals abroad to lecture Byung-Jay (BJ) Kahng, PhD or conduct research for up to one year.
In Memoriam Canisius College lost three current and former faculty members in recent months. Donald J. Murphy, EdD, passed away on September 16 at age 86. Murphy was special assistant to the dean of the School of Education and Human Services from 2003 up until his retirement in 2005. He is best remembered, however, as the seasoned educator who worked steadfastly to ensure high-quality teacher preparation as chair of the Department of Education and director of graduate education. Murphy’s leadership extended beyond Canisius, as he served several years as chair of the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Canisius lost Joseph T. Sandman, emeritus professor of English, on July 29. He was 89. Sandman spent nearly a half-century in the college’s English Department, where he taught classes on the history of English language and American literature, although he is remembered most for his scholarly interests in William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens. Sandman retired from Canisius in 1993. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees in English from Canisius in 1943 and 1948, respectively. The college conferred an honorary degree upon Sandman in 1986. Rev. Paul Nochelski, S.J., passed away on July 9 at age 71. A Jesuit priest, administrator and educator, Father Nochelski taught in the college’s School of Education and Human Services from 1993-2010. He served many years as chair of the Department of Adolescence Education. Father Nochelski entered the Society of Jesus in 1958. He was ordained in 1971. His early assignments included teacher and administrator duties at Canisius High School; director of residence life and chaplaincy at Nazareth College, Rochester; and principal at McQuaid Jesuit High School.
Janet McNally ’02
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Canisius takes a giant step toward new scientific discovery with the opening of Science Hall.
Story: Audrey R. Browka / Kristin E. Etu '91 Photos: Yun Gen Yang / Tom Wolf '86
anisius College opened the doors to the long-anticipated Science Hall this fall. From its dramatic four-story atrium to its luminous new laboratories and interactive science-on-display spaces, Science Hall is a world-class facility fit for the college’s world-class science programs.
This is a fundamental approach behind all the college’s undergraduate science programs, and is what helps keep Canisius at the forefront of the discipline. Young pioneers learn by doing under the guidance of educators and innovators who inspire and empower undergraduate to explore the unknown.
“This project doubles, triples even, our investment in what is already a very strong science program at Canisius,” says President John J. Hurley.
Now that the doors to Science Hall are open, teaching and learning will reach even greater heights. New ideas, knowledge and discoveries await as students study alongside veteran professors who helped build Canisius’ prominent science programs. They also learn from the college’s next generation of scientists, whose great ambitions to solve health, environmental or technological challenges require collaboration between disciplines in state-ofthe-art facilities.
Phase 1 of Science Hall is an impressive 120,000 square feet of space that enables the college to begin consolidating all its science programs under one roof. Already taking up residence are the departments of Computer Science and Mathematics, the Institute for Autism Research (IAR) and the Dr. George E. Schreiner Pre-Medical Center. “The sequencing of genomes, life-saving advances in medicine or the development of clean, new sources of energy will not spring from individuals who work in isolation but from teams of scientists, from different disciplines, who look at the same problem in different ways to move research forward,” says David W. Ewing, PhD, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.
Canisius Magazine introduces you to a few of these new and rising science-minded stars, on the following pages.
Science Hall’s very infrastructure breaks down barriers between traditional disciplines. Glass walls and walkways throughout are windows to science-in-action. Science is on display in the Margaret L. Wendt Animal Behavior Laboratory, an integrated and interactive space that showcases faculty and student exhibits. Inside the classrooms, island workstations cluster young investigators together to forge new breakthroughs. Sophisticated instructional technologies enable Canisius explorers to connect and collaborate with peers off campus. And teaching laboratories, outfitted with flexible furniture, allow faculty to customize the space to support interdisciplinary research and curriculum needs. And this is just the beginning. While the recently concluded Legacy of Leadership campaign secured significant support for the purchase and renovation of the building’s first level, additional support is needed to renovate the remainder of Science Hall. When that is realized, Canisius’ signature interdisciplinary science complex will define a new standard for science at Catholic, Jesuit institutions, yield new knowledge and discoveries, and serve as a magnet for the next and most talented generation of students who want to learn science from real scientists.
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WebExtra: Visit canisius.edu/magazine to learn more about Science Hall and the vital role it will play in world-class research in Western New York.
Michael H. Wood, PhD
Jeremy L. Steinbacher, PhD
Lisa M. Morey, PhD
Katie S. Costanzo, PhD
C ANISIUS COLLEGE M AGA ZINE • WINTER 2013 |
Assistant Professor Katie S. Costanzo, PhD, is out for blood in order to help block the spread of disease.
The pesky mosquito may be your worst summer enemy but it is Katie S. Costanzo’s best friend. An evolutionary ecologist, Costanzo studies the natural history of these blood-sucking insects to better understand the implications they have on human health. “Mosquitoes spread such deadly illnesses as yellow fever, malaria and West Nile virus,” says Costanzo, who adds that the United States recently documented its first cases of dengue disease, acquired in Florida. “Interestingly, mosquitoes’ immune systems don’t succumb to the diseases they carry. If scientists can figure out why, they may learn how to treat or prevent humans from being affected.” For clues to this mystery, Costanzo studied the impacts of viruses on the mosquitoes that carry them during her postdoctoral work at the University of Illinois. Currently at Canisius, Costanzo studies how climate influences traits in mosquitoes that can affect the epidemiology of diseases they carry. She focuses her research on Aedes mosquitoes, which carry dengue. To help in her search, Costanzo raises the insects, from larvae to adulthood, in a climate-controlled room in the Health Science Building. She also enlists the help of undergraduate biology students, who learn how to collect, analyze and document data alongside her.
“I want to be more than a professor to my students. I want to mentor them in the same way I was mentored.” Costanzo originally flirted with the idea of studying more “warm and fuzzy” creatures, as an undergraduate biology major at SUNY at Oswego. But an entomology professor took Costanzo under his wing and she has been bitten by mosquitoes ever since. In many ways, Costanzo is not surprised she landed where she did. “As a child, I spent summers at my grandfather’s log cabin, where I collected all the critters I could find in the forest or the creek,” recalls Costanzo. “I was fascinated by how everything worked in the natural world and I think that’s what really sparked my interest in natural history and biology.” Costanzo holds a BS in biological sciences, with a concentration in zoology, from SUNY Oswego; an MS in biological sciences, with a concentration in conservation biology from Illinois State University, and a PhD in biology sciences from SUNY Buffalo. Canisius, however, is home to her. “Getting hired by Canisius was me getting my dream job,” says Costanzo. “I grew up in Western New York. My family is all here. And the educational environment at Canisius allows me to do what I love best: teach and research.”
Big Bang Theory
Assistant Professor Michael H. Wood, PhD, studies the phenomena that is physics
Michael H. Wood, PhD, doesn’t come to work everyday and ask “What is the meaning of the universe.” Rather, he works to understand the building blocks that make up the universe. Wood is an experimental nuclear physicist. In layman’s terms, he studies how the nucleus of an atom fits together. His work isn’t much different than a game of billards. When a cue ball slams into the racked game balls, they scatter and knock into each other. Wood uses a similar technique at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, VA, where he is a collaborator. Operated by the Department of Energy, the nuclear physics center houses an electron beam accelerator, which researchers use to shoot electrons directly into an atom’s nucleus to cause it to break apart. “I then take the scattered pieces and try to fit them back together to figure out the dynamics of the nucleus and the very nature of matter itself,” explains Wood. He recalls exactly who and what inspired his interest in physics at age 14. Wood’s father, a physical chemist for the District of Columbia Health Department, represented the city on a tri-state committee examining radioactive waste disposal in the region.
“The moment he started to explain the process of radioactive decay and half-lives, I was hooked,” says Wood. He earned his BS in physics from The Catholic University of America, and his MS and PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Wood perfected himself as a scientist during two postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and the University of South Carolina. He is now a source of inspiration for undergraduate science students at Canisius. The assistant professor involves majors in much of his active research at the Jefferson Lab. He also piques the curiosity of incoming freshmen by demonstrating that physics is not an abstract area of research but rather relevant in everyday life. Physics, he says, holds the answer to such questions as how magnets stick to refrigerators, how police recreate accident scenes and how Earth orbits the sun. “I really found my fit at Canisius in that I have a great balance between teaching and research,” says Wood. “An added benefit is that I am Catholic and was educated by Jesuits, so in some ways I’ve come full circle.”
Assistant Professor of Biology, Lisa M. Morey, PhD, pieces together the genetic puzzle. Lisa Morey, PhD, is always game for a good puzzle. Word puzzles, number puzzles, jigsaw puzzles – they all excite her logical and sequential ingenuity. But it is the genetic puzzle that most intrigues Morey. A cell and molecular biologist, Morey works to figure out how outside influences, specifically environmental estrogens, alter genes. Environmental estrogens are synthetic substances found most commonly in plastics, pesticides and contraceptives. When absorbed into the body, they can change the way a gene behaves. Environmental estrogens are connected to everything from premenstrual syndrome to cancer and reproductive problems in animals – even generations after exposure. Morey’s current research examines how environmental estrogens affect prostate cancer. “Unscrambling the role of epigenetics – or this process that alters gene activity without changing the DNA sequence – can help scientists develop better drugs and intervention for patients and perhaps future generations,” she explains. Science is in Morey’s genes. Her mother was a math major who became an actuary; her grandfather was a chemist “who had a thirst for learning new things and always took us different places growing up,” recalls Morey.
A high school biology teacher introduced Morey to the first pieces of the genetic puzzle when she taught about DNA. But it was a freshman biology professor at the University of Southern Maine who recognized Morey’s inquisitive mind and enlisted her in his genetics research lab. “It was a great experience that really gave me an edge when I went into graduate school (at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst).” Morey helps give students that same edge in her lab at Canisius. “The undergraduate research experience is such a powerful thing,” she says. “It teaches students skills that they can’t learn in a classroom or a lab that meets once a week.” Morey’s passion for both investigation and instruction is a primary reason she choose Canisius College. Her current coursework includes cancer biology, cell biology and molecular biology. But the most rewarding part of Morey’s work, she says, is the look on students’ faces when they successfully piece together a scientific puzzle. “That a-ha moment makes everything worthwhile.”
Shoot for a Cure
Assistant Professor of Chemistry/Biochemistry Jeremy L. Steinbacher, PhD, takes aim at cancer with the tiniest of weapons. Researchers used to take a shotgun approach to killing cancer cells. But a new generation of scientists is trying to improve its aim. Jeremy L. Steinbacher, PhD, is among them. The assistant professor of chemistry/biochemistry works to develop biomedical agents that more accurately target and attack tumors.
which is why he is eager to move into Science Hall. In the meantime, Steinbacher puts students to work in his third-floor laboratory at Canisius. There’s a steep learning curve, he admits, but it's well worth the effort for students interested in graduate school.
“When cancer is treated with traditional chemotherapy, the drug goes everywhere in the body with the hope that it reaches enough malignant cells to kill them,” explains Steinbacher.
“My goal is to teach students how to tackle a big problem and stick with it, how to deal with failure. I want them to understand what it means to think creatively and problem-solve to come up with viable solutions.”
It’s a proven cancer treatment but chemotherapy also damages healthy cells and triggers debilitating side effects. Steinbacher researches new, safer ways to deliver this life-saving therapy.
These are the same research skills Steinbacher honed as a graduate and doctoral student at Cornell University, and later as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Vermont.
“The idea is to package up chemotherapeutics inside microscopic nano-vehicles, which then go straight to the source of the diseased tissue,” says Steinbacher. “If we can do that, we can then deliver higher doses of the drug to just the tumor and patients won’t suffer side effects or damage to healthy tissue.”
But it is in the classrooms at Canisius where Steinbacher’s greatest breakthroughs take place.
The complexity of Steinbacher’s research requires many different scientists from many different disciplines who approach the same problem from different perspectives. “You need chemists, biologists, cellular biologists, material scientists and physicists,” says Steinbacher,
Teaching, he says, reminds him of a question once posed by the late astronomer and astrophysicist Carl Sagan. Sagan asked if knowing the inner workings – the biological makeup – of a rose makes the flower any less beautiful. “If anything, it makes it more beautiful because you understand what is going on at a very deep and cellular level. Teaching at Canisius gives me a chance to explain all those fundamental and beautiful parts of nature.”
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w e N d n Bra
Perhaps you’ve seen it on billboards along the highways, in the Galleria Mall or on our newly re-launched website (canisius.edu). Canisius is calling attention to the unique educational experience it offers students, with the launch of a new branding campaign. Yes, it comes with a new look. It’s youthful, yet modern and even edgy. But the messaging is steeped in 450 years of Jesuit tradition. “Our Jesuit identity distinguishes Canisius from other colleges and universities,” says President John J. Hurley. “Our goal as a Jesuit university is to have students leave here transformed: smarter, of course, but also wiser, more compassionate, more inspired, more committed to the poor, and marginalized, and more fully attuned to the movement of the Spirit in their lives.” The brand launch is one of several strategic initiatives underway at Canisius to stay a step ahead of today’s changing higher education landscape. More universities are competing for fewer students. In the Northeast, alone, the number of high school graduates is expected to decline as much as 15 percent by 2020. The new brand concept was shaped by Canisius and its stakeholders, and is rooted in fundamental truths of the institution’s history and identity. To help uncover those truths, Canisius reached out to nearly 3,000 of the college’s constituents to test perceptions of Canisius against those of competitor schools. Focus group interviews and a university peer-analysis followed. The market research revealed that a Canisius education is defined by challenging academics, a place where curiosity is encouraged and thinking is required. Canisius students undertake real-world experiences, participate in real research and tackle real problems. Students don’t just receive a lifetime worth of information but graduate prepared for a lifetime of adventures. Canisius shared the results of the market research with the brand agency 160over90, which has offices in Philadelphia and Newport Beach. With a client list that includes UCLA, the University of Notre Dame and Loyola Maryland, as well as Nike and American Eagle, 160over90 is acutely in tune with the demographic to which Canisius wants to speak. “In higher education, people attempt to speak to every aspect of the school and forget that at the receiving end of this barrage of information is a 17-year old kid,” says Tim O’Donnell, creative director at 160over90. “This generation of high school students doesn’t give anything more than five seconds of its attention. It’s an immediate read or it’s in the trash.”
With this in mind, 160over90 created a roadmap for Canisius’ in-house marketing and communication team to bring the brand to life. It’s a considerable departure from more traditional Canisius messaging but it’s authentic in every way. The new brand encourages students to Think Beyond the Classroom by seizing opportunities to work closely on research with full-time faculty; Strike Out and Find New Ground because taking control of their educations means getting involved, joining clubs, accepting leadership positions or volunteering; Question the Questions, as college is a time when students should strive to understand the real world, with all its positives and negatives; and Go Exploring, because with the help of dedicated faculty Canisius students can go as far as their imaginations and determinations can take them. In short, the new brand better communicates what a Canisius education is and always has been about: developing the whole person, mind, body and spirit. The brand initiative launched this fall is just the beginning of a long-term effort to attract a greater number of quality undergraduate and graduate students and more diverse faculty; secure Canisius’ reputation as one of the leading comprehensive universities in the Northeast; and grow Canisius pride across all aspects of the university. Ultimately, however, the brand’s long-term success will be defined not by words but by the actions of those who know Canisius best – faculty, staff, administrators, Jesuits, alumni, parents, family and friends. “These individuals know the promise of a Canisius education and deliver on that promise every day, whether it’s in the classrooms, the residence halls, at campus ministry or in the greater community,” says President Hurley. “They demonstrate to our students that the Canisius connection is more than just a professional network. It’s a lasting personal network of their best friends.” These are the people who distinguish Canisius. They are the Canisius brand.
WEB EXTRA: Check out more of the new branding, including the re-designed Viewbook, at canisius.edu/magazine. 16
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Science Hall Graphics Walden Galleria Mall Graphics
Science Hall Banner
47th Annual Board of Regents
Scholarship Ball | May 4, 2013
Young Investigators Canisius nurtures science minds in-the-making courtesy of corporation and foundation support Year after year, nine out of 10 Canisius students who apply are accepted into the medical or health professional schools. These outcomes speak to the strength of the college’s science and pre-medical programs, which start to nurture young doctors, scientists and health professionals well before they arrive at 2001 Main Street.
high school students’ chemistry skills and knowledge. It is hosted by the Canisius Chemistry Department, and made possible by Honeywell International Inc. and David Nalewajek ’74, PhD. A senior principal scientist at Honeywell Research Laboratory, Nalewajek has helped facilitate more than $160,000 in grants over 10 years for the Olympiad.
With support from local corporations and foundations, Canisius faculty “If we can spark the interest of just one or two students toward a offer innovative educational programs aimed at generating interest in career in chemistry, then we’ve done our job,” says Nalewajek. the sciences among elementary, middle and high school students. Funding from corporate and foundation partners not only influences “The idea is to broaden students’ understanding of science and potential Canisius students, it also enhances the teaching and learning break down the perception that science is ‘too difficult,’” says Steven experiences of current students. A grant from The Margaret L. Wendt Foundation enables undergraduates in the Canisius Ambassadors for Szczepankiewicz, PhD, associate professor of chemistry. Conservation (CAC) program to collaborate with the Iroquois National Szczepankiewicz organizes the popular Canisius Summer Science Camp, Wildlife Refuge on school and summer camps for middle school children. alongside Phillip M. Sheridan, PhD, assistant professor of chemistry, CAC students share their knowledge of the natural world and promote with the combined support of The John R. Oishei Foundation and wildlife conservation through a series of ecological lessons. To date, Time-Warner Cable. Open to children in grades five through eight, CAC students have educated more than 11,700 middle school children. the science camp connects young investigators to different science “We would not be able to offer these educational opportunities without concepts, with an emphasis on the “wow factor.” the generous support of corporate and foundation sponsors,” says “Above all, we want to teach kids that science can be fun,” adds Michael Noonan, PhD, chair of animal behavior, ecology and conservaSzczepankiewicz. tion. “While an important secondary goal of our outreach activities is That’s also the objective behind the Western New York Chemistry the recruitment of prospective students, the primary objective is to Olympiad. Coordinated by Mariusz M. Kozik, PhD, chair of the make science come alive for a new generation of young people.” Chemistry/Biochemistry Department, the annual competition tests WebExtra: Check out Science Camp 2012 at canisius.edu/magazine.
canisius advancement A Woman of Mission Sr. Janet M. Holzer ’49, SFCC, felt called to missionary life when she was a young woman but obtaining a quality education was equally as important to her. After she took a bookkeeping class in business school, Sister Janet discovered she was a “numbers person” and decided to pursue a degree in accounting. When asked why she chose Canisius College, the East Side native replied, “I wanted nothing less than the best education I could get and so there was no question about my going to Canisius.”
to “share the Gospel message and challenge the deeply-rooted injustices in the world today.”
Sister Janet’s first assignment, in 1955, was as a junior accountant at Xavier University in New Orleans. The six-week assignment evolved into a 12-year career, both in accounting and teaching. Sister Janet went on to obtain an MBA in accounting and finance from The Wharton School of Business and credited her Canisius education, from 20 years prior, for “giving her the groundwork in accounting to At the time Sister Janet attended Canisius, women could only take be successful.” classes after 4:30 p.m. So Sister Janet worked full-time day jobs and Now a member of the Sisters for Christian Community, Sister Janet attended college in the evenings. It took six years to complete her continues to live out the mission she so admired in the Jesuits at undergraduate degree but the proud Canisius graduate reflects, “I Canisius College. She established the Sr. Janet M. Holzer ’49 SFCC received an excellent education on my own.” Endowed Scholarship through a charitable gift annuity. The scholShe also developed a deep admiration for the Jesuits at Canisius College. arship supports female African American students enrolled in the “Those men really were devoted to the educational commitment of Richard J. Wehle School of Business. the Society of Jesus and their religious lives,” she recalls. “I want to give these young women a chance to have a full college Sister Janet took the lessons she learned at Canisius with her when experience and to go into a profession prepared to make a difference she joined the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament in Bethlehem, PA, in the African American community,” explains Sister Janet. fulfilling her early desire to be a missionary on the home-front. These Canisius is grateful for the generosity and devotion of Sr. Janet Holzer. Sisters work with African American and Native American populations
Two Cities, One Education Frederick Holler ’57, MD, supports his hometown and his alma mater with a single endowed scholarship. Behind each endowed gift is a personal motivation. Some people want to honor their loved ones. Others want to make a positive impact on society. Frederick Holler ’57, MD, established an endowed scholarship at Canisius College because he wants future students to be influenced by the Jesuit tradition in the same ways he was. “It builds character, and character is that indefinable element that influences how you interact with others and how you make choices and judgments,” says Holler. “It is practical and ethical, and pervades you for the rest of your life.” Frederick ’57, MD and Nancy Holler
Holler was one of 42 students to enter the Canisius pre-med program in 1953. Only 16 made it through successfully, including Holler. Accepted to Georgetown University Medical School, Holler went on to serve as a flight surgeon in the U.S. Air Force and complete his residency at Albany Medical Center. He also became a major in the Air
National Guard. After his military service, Holler enjoyed a fulfilling career as an otolaryngologist. He also co-founded the Medical Mutual Insurance Company of Maine, where he raised four accomplished children with his wife, Nancy. Though Holler lived outside Western New York for many years, he remains a fervent ambassador for the region and alma mater. The endowed scholarship he established affords a Canisius education to a graduate of St. Dominic’s High School, near his home in Lewiston, Maine. “This enables me to invest in the future of the Lewiston community and similarly support alma mater,” says Holler. “Canisius is a little jewel tucked away in Western New York. It’s a gem educationally, it’s a gem culturally and it’s a gem morally. The biggest bang for your buck is right there at Canisius College. I try to spread the word as best I can.”
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Alumni Association Elects New Members The Office of Alumni Relations is now the Office of Alumni Engagement. The name change underscores the department’s focus, which is to engage alumni and the college community in meaningful ways.
Rachel L. Flammer will serve as the new director of alumni engagement. Flammer spent the past year as interim director of alumni relations, during which time she oversaw the successful implementation and management Rachel L. Flammer of the college’s local, regional and national alumni relations program. Prior to this, Flammer was assistant director of alumni relations at Canisius.
Four new members joined the Alumni Association Board of Directors for the 2012-2013 academic year. The Board works in conjunction with the Office of Alumni Engagement to help cultivate volunteerism, mentoring, and participation at Canisius College. The new members are:
Michael S. Hofer ’08, MBA ’10 Financial Analysis Officer First Niagara Financial Group
Susan M. Polvino ’82 Vice President, Investment Research Citigroup
Lisa Pugliese ’89 Director, Office of Public Housing U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development
Kathleen M. Sellers ’94 Assistant Vice President, Counsel Charles J. Sellers & Co. Inc.
Flammer is a 2000 graduate of LeMoyne College.
Mearns to Coach Team Canada The Canadian Lacrosse Association named Randy Mearns ’92, MBA ’02 head coach of the Canadian National Team. Mearns, who is the head coach for the Canisius men’s lacrosse team, will guide the Canadian team at the 2014 World Championship in Denver, CO.
“I am very excited and humbled with this opportunity,” says Mearns. “It is a tremendous honor to be part of Team Canada Lacrosse. I look forward to working with the amazing athletes who Randy Mearns ’92, MBA ’02 will be part of the team through this amazing gold-medal journey.” Mearns served as assistant coach for Canada in each of the past two World Championships. He helped lead the team to a silver medal in 2010 and a gold medal during the 2006 tournament. This marked the country’s first title in 28 years, and earned Mearns and the team induction into the Canadian Lacrosse Hall of Fame. During his tenure at Canisius, Mearns has mentored nine players who play in the National Lacrosse League. Overall, he led the Griffs to 77 victories and 60 conference wins.
Call for Nominations For more information on nomination criteria or to nominate an individual, visit canisius.edu/alumni.
The board is led by President Jennifer Farrell ’98, attorney at Farrell and Farrell; First Vice President Ann Woloszynski ’90, MBA ’94, vice president of risk management at M&T Bank; and Second Vice President Mark Manuele ’92, portfolio underwriter at First Niagara Bank.
At-Large Alumni Association Board of Directors The Alumni Association is accepting nominations for new at-large members of the Board of Directors. To submit a nomination, visit canisius.edu/alumni/board.asp. The deadline for nominations is March 4, 2013.
The Alumni Association is accepting nominations for the following awards, inductions and commendations:
2013 Distinguished Alumni Awards | Nominations deadline – March 26, 2013 2014 Sports Hall of Fame | Nominations deadline – July 15, 2013 2014 DiGamma Honor Society Inductions | Nominations deadline – August 12, 2013
MAY 31 JUNE 1&2 class notes
canisius connections Alumni Educators: You Have Homework It’s out with the old and in with the new in the Canisius Career Center. The office introduced Interfolio as its latest tool for educators and school administrators who want to showcase their academic and professional credentials to potential employers. The online service provides you with one central place to store, manage and deliver your most important professional documents, from recommendation letters to writing samples, CVs to transcripts, and teaching certifications to student evaluations. With the introduction of Interfolio, the Career Center will begin to eliminate its archived credentials. The oldest files will be eliminated first. If your credentials are currently on file and you would like them returned, or if you want more information regarding Interfolio, contact the Career Center at 716-888-2475 or visit canisius.edu/careercenter.
’44 BS William F. Brown Jr. authored his 12th book, entitled The Stafford Story. The book chronicles the origins of the private country club outside Batavia and the opening of its golf course on June 1, 1922.
’61 BA, HON ’90 Hon. John J. LaFalce, special counsel at HoganWillig, was appointed to the Erie County Industrial Development Agency Board of Directors.
1950s ’50 BS Rick Azar, retired sportscaster, reunited with his former anchor team for the 50th anniversary of the Variety Club Telethon, benefitting Women and Children’s Hospital and the Robert Warner, MD, Rehabilitation Center. ’50 BA, HON ’00 Robert J. Kresse, of counsel at Hiscock and Barclay LLP, was honored by King Center Charter School when the building was renamed the Robert and Mary Ann Kresse Family Education Center. Kresse and his wife were instrumental in the creation of the city’s first charter school. ’52 BS Chester J. Pawenska and Helen A. (Barrett) Pawenska ’81 celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. ’54 BA Richard F. Griffin, attorney at Kavinoky Cook LLP, was named a charter member of the New York Academy of Mediators and Arbitrators. He is one of only 58 legal professionals recognized as a charter member of the organization. ’55 BS, HON ’94 Joseph J. Castiglia, retired president and chief executive officer of Pratt and Lambert, was elected chair of the Read to Succeed Buffalo Board of Directors.
’61 BA Edmund A. Napieralski, PhD, professor emeritus of English and former associate vice president for academic affairs at King’s College, was elected to a three-year term on the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors Board of Directors. ’63 BA Rev. Mark J. Wolski retired as pastor of SS Peter and Paul Parish after nearly 13 years of dedicated service. ’64 BA Michael J. Ryan, partner at Cosgrove Law Offices, was elected vice president of the Bar Association of Erie County. ’65 BA Richard M. Peer, MD, vascular and general surgeon at Buffalo Medical Group PC, was elected chair of the Medical Society of the State of New York Board. ’66 BS Angelo M. Fatta, PhD, founder and chief executive officer of ANSECO Group, was appointed to a seven-year term on the State University of New York Board of Trustees by Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. ’66 BA Joseph A. Ralabate, MD, general surgeon, was named vice chair of the Catholic Medical Partners Board of Directors for 2012. ’68 BA Kathleen (Ferrick) Rosenblatt, PhD, an acupuncturist in West Los Angeles, CA, was a featured speaker on Pulsed Electromagnetic
Stimulation (PEMF) at the Combat Stress Conference. She also lectured at the Health Freedom Expo at the Long Beach Center and the Conscious Life Expo.
’72 MSED Elizabeth N. Kolber was promoted to senior vice president at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. She previously served as first vice president of investments.
’68 BA Dennis J. Szefel Sr., chief strategy officer for Delaware North Companies, was appointed to the Roswell Park Cancer Institute Board of Directors.
’73 BA Arnold F. Zdrojewski, retired technical expert for the United States Social Security Administration, was elected treasurer of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association (NARFE) New York Federation.
’70 BA Angelo A. Lattuca retired from Mohawk Valley Community College after 40 years of teaching biological sciences. He was also honored with emeritus status.
’74 BA Gregory A. Gabriel is the new senior college scout for the Philadelphia Eagles. He previously served as director of college scouting for the Chicago Bears.
’71 BS Kurt C. Bingeman, president of Russell Bond and Company, was named one of four “Local Industry Legends” at the 2012 Excess Line Association of New York annual dinner.
’74 BS Robert R. Meiss retired from his position as chief executive officer of Beechwood Continuing Care after 23 years of service.
’71 BS John R. O’Brien, retired executive director of financial administration at the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, was elected chair of the Evans Bank Board of Directors. ’72 BA Thomas J. Dearing, deputy commissioner of the Erie County Department of Planning, received the Heissenbuttel Award for Planning Excellence from the New York Planning Federation. ’72 BA Lorene (Hanley) Duquin authored a book, entitled Recovering Faith: Stories of Catholics Who Came Home. The book profiles 18 men and women who struggled with but ultimately returned to their Catholic roots.
’74 BA, MBA ’91 Kenneth A. O’Donnell is the new Florida market president and executive vice president at Busey Bank. He previously served as senior vice president and consumer market executive at Bank of America in Southwest Florida. ’75 BA Linda A. (Lollier) Cardone, MD, is a new pediatrician at Delaware Pediatrics. She previously served as a pediatrician at Kenmore Pediatric Associates. ’75 BS Anna Marie (Rooth) Cellino, president of National Fuel Gas Distribution, was elected to the Buffalo Niagara Partnership Board of Directors. ’75 BS Gary M. Crosby, chief operating officer at First Niagara Financial Group, was appointed to the Buffalo Public Schools Foundation Board of Directors.
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’75 BA, MS ’80 Max E. Donatelli Jr., department head for the Bridges to Health program at Baker Victory Services, received the William B. Hoyt Memorial Advocacy Award from Child and Family Services. ’75 BA Michael W. Grisanti, MD, medical director at Buffalo Rheumatology Associates, was named to the Buffalo Business First 2012 Health Care 50 Roll Call. ’75 MBA Salvatore D. Santarosa, president of Santarosa Group Inc., was named to the Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center Board of Directors. ’76 BA Erik L. Brady, award-winning writer for USA Today, was inducted into the 2012 Canisius High School Distinguished Alumni Hall of Honor. ’76 BS Samuel J. Bumbalo is the new account executive at The PCA Group. He previously served in the Business Development Department at Hemisphere Communications. ’76 BA Stephen M. Nosek was promoted to senior vice president at Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. He has been with the company for 34 years. ’77 BA Jane E. (Clark) Zawistowski, retired senior insurance information management analyst at Insurance Services Office Inc., was elected a Fellow of the Insurance Data Managers Association. ’77 BA Stephen L. Zawistowski, PhD, science advisor for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and adjunct professor of anthrozoology at Canisius College, delivered the commencement address at Alfred State College’s 101st graduation ceremony. ’78 BS David T. Konst was promoted to senior vice president of global operations at Rich Products Corporation. He previously served as senior vice president of supply chain operations. ’79 BA William F. Coughlin was named supervising attorney of the Criminal Division at the Legal Aid of Buffalo. He previously served as managing attorney of the Felony Office. ’79 BA Richard I. Werder Jr., partner at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart and Sullivan, was named a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. ’79 BA Hon. Gerald J. Whalen, New York State Supreme Court Justice, was elected to serve a one-year term as president of the Supreme Court Justice Association, Eighth Judicial District. ’79 BS Lee C. Wortham, partner at Barrantys LLC, was elected vice chair of the Evans Bank Board of Directors.
1980s ’80 BS Peter E. Benzino, vice president and general manager of Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Cleveland, was elected to the
Buffalo Niagara Partnership Board of Directors. ’80 MS Joseph J. Cozzo, president and chief executive officer of Buffalo Hearing and Speech Center, was named to the Read to Succeed Buffalo Board of Directors. ’80 BA Mary V. (Travers) Murphy, executive director of the Family Justice Center of Erie County, received the Partner in SelfSufficiency Award from the Everywoman Opportunity Center. ’80 BA Michael J. Vavonese, owner and attorney at Michael J. Vavonese Law Office, was included in the 2012 edition of Super Lawyers magazine. ’82 BA Jill (Kawa) Bond, senior vice president and general counsel at Rich Products Corporation, received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University at Buffalo Law School Alumni Association. ’82 BA Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker, president and chief executive officer of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, received the Outstanding Citizen Award from The Buffalo News for her role in solidifying Say Yes to Education’s partnership with Buffalo city and charter schools. ’82 BS David P. Polino retired from his position as president of the Better Business Bureau. He worked at the BBB for 30 years and served as president since 1995. ’82 BS Gregory P. Rustowicz, vice president of finance and chief financial officer at Columbus McKinnon Corporation, was elected to the Buffalo Niagara Partnership Board of Directors. ’83 BS Maddalena G. (Lamattina) Prohaska was promoted to director of small-business lending for the Western New York market at First Niagara Financial Group. She previously served as an area sales manager. ’83 BS Alan E. Runkel, division manager and financial associate at Independent Financial Resources LLC, was named Greater Catholic League Bowling Coach of the Year for the fourth time in the past five years. The team he coaches, St. Xavier, won its State Sectional playoff tournament this year. ’84 BA Alan P. Pietruszewski, CDR U.S. Navy (Ret.), a Los Angeles-based actor, appeared in three commercials: as a jogger in Gold Bond; as a businessman in Kentucky Fried Chicken; and as a spokesman in Trade Station. He is also the voice for a new Public Service Announcement for Veteran Affairs. ’85 BS Michael A. Iacono is the new associate at The Ballow Law Firm PC. He previously served as of counsel at Siegel, Kelleher and Kahn LLP.
’85 BS, MBA ’05 Lynn M. (Holbel) O’Connor was promoted to group vice president at M&T Bank. She has been with the bank since 1998. ’85 BS, MBA ’91 Jesse J. Tzimas is the new renovation specialist at Wells Fargo Home Mortgage. He previously served as the business retail manager at Mortgage IT. ’86 BA Vincent E. Doyle III, partner at Connors and Vilardo LLP, received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University at Buffalo Law School Alumni Association. He was also named “Lawyer of the Year” by the Bar Association of Erie County. ’86 BA, MBA ’90 Kevin F. Pellegrino is the new vice president of sales at Alight Planning. He previously served as the direct sales manager at the California Chamber of Commerce. ’87 BA Leslie A. Hornung is the new president of sales and marketing at Innovative Health Services of America. She previously served as director of sales at Graphic Controls. ’88 BS Flint D. Besecker, chief executive officer of The Center for Hospice and Palliative Care, was named to Buffalo’s Business First 2012 Health Care 50 Roll Call. ’88 BA Katherine E. (Reilly) Cauley, partner at Hodgson Russ LLP, was appointed to lead the firm’s Estates and Trusts Practice Group. She has been with the firm since 1999. ’88 BS Geoffrey G. Hobika, MD, senior resident in the University at Buffalo’s Anesthesiology Program, received the Resident Award from the Erie County Medical Society. ’89 MBA Frederick M. Krajacic was promoted to group vice president at M&T Bank. He has been with the bank since 2006 and previously served as administrative vice president.
1990s ’90 BS, MBA ’95 Sabrina A. (Lucente) Huddy was promoted to director of international finance for Rich Products Asia/ Pacific, Europe/ Middle East, Latin America and South Africa regions. She has been with the company since 1990. ’90 BS, MSED ’98 Lisa A. (Wolf) Lograsso, adjunct professor at Hilbert College, received the Hilbert College Adjunct Teaching Excellence Award. ’90 BS Albert A. Nigro, director of the Tax Advisory Group at Dopkins and Company LLP, was named to Buffalo’s Business First 2012 Health Care 50 Roll Call. ’91 MBA Timothy J. McMorrow was promoted to group vice president at M&T Bank. He previously served as administrative vice president. ’91 BA Deborah J. (Bishof) Scinta, attorney at the law offices of Joseph J. Scinta Jr. and Deborah
J. Scinta, was accepted as a Fellow of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. ’92 BS David D. Spriegel was promoted to administrative vice president at M&T Bank. He has been with the bank since 1999. ’93 BA Daniel P. O’Neill is the new chief executive officer for Beechwood Continuing Care. He previously served as vice president of health care services at Lutheran Social Services. ’94 BS Karen L. (Schroth) Costa is the new accounting manager at The Exigence Group. She previously served as the divisional controller at NOCO Energy Corporation. ’94 BS Eric W. Guzdek, general manager at the Northtown Center at Amherst, received the Tourism Employee of the Year Beacon Award from the Buffalo Niagara Convention and Visitors Bureau. ’94 BS Carolyn M. (Hoch) Powell, business development manager at Buffalo Niagara Enterprise, was certified as an Economic Development Finance Professional by the National Development Council. ’94 BS Julianne (Bitterman) Urban was promoted to group vice president at M&T Bank. She previously served as administrative vice president. ’95 BA Thomas Anthony Cumbo, MD, owner and physician at T. Anthony Cumbo, MD, PLLC, was elected to the Catholic Medical Partners Board of Directors for 2012. ’95 BS Darcy M. (Rowe) Norfolk was promoted to president at Adworkshop. She previously served as general manager. ’97 BS Mark C. Zawodzinski was promoted to vice president at Five Star Bank. He previously served as a financial reporting senior accountant. ’98 MSED Angela M. Williams was elected to the Seneca Nation of Indians Health System Commission.
2000s ’00 BA William P. Moore was promoted to senior partner at the law firm of Lipsitz Green Scime Cambria LLP. He has been with the firm since 2004. ’01 MBA, John Bell-Thomson, MD, chair of the Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Mercy Hospital, was named to Buffalo’s Business First 2012 Health Care 50 Roll Call. ’01 BA Meghann L. (Drury) Grogan, PhD, is the new assistant professor of communication and media management at Fordham University. She previously served as manager at Deloitte Consulting and conducted postdoctoral research at the National University of Ireland Galway. ’01 MS Lisa M. (Eichner) Roy is the new director of development and external relations at the Buffalo Society of Natural
Sciences. She previously served as senior director at the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. ’02 BA Thomas D. Bombarger is the new account executive at Kincaid Network Solutions. He previously served as a sales representative with Bearing Distributors. ’02 MBA Pamela S. Menard was promoted to senior vice president of Health Care Delivery Innovation at Independent Health. She previously served as vice president of Health Promotions and Care Management. She was also named to Buffalo’s Business First 2012 Health Care 50 Roll Call. ’02 BA Jeffrey L. Nowak was ordained to the Catholic priesthood by Buffalo’s now retired Bishop Edward U. Kmiec. He has been assigned to St. John Vianney Parish in Orchard Park. ’02 MBA Nancy W. Stone is the new vice president/compliance and bank secrecy account officer at the Bank of Akron. She previously served as the loss prevention manager at First Niagara Financial Group. ’03 BA Rev. James L. Fugle was appointed parochial vicar of St. Pius X Parish by Buffalo’s now retired Bishop Edward U. Kmiec. He previously served as parochial vicar at St. Vincent DePaul Parish.
’03 BA Sidney Louis is the new intelligence officer at the Army Intelligence and Security Command located at Fort Belvoir in Virginia. He previously served as the senior intelligence analyst at Lockheed Martin Corporation. ’03 BA Melissa N. Subjeck, a senior associate at Hodgson Russ LLP, was recognized by National Trial Lawyers as a ‘Top 40 Under 40.’ Subjeck was commended for her superior qualifications, trial results and leadership as a young lawyer. ’04 MBA Sean Doyle is the new senior facility manager at McGuire Development Company. He previously served as the senior facility manager at Jones Lang LaSalle. ’05 BS Amelia M. (Zapp) Swehla is the new senior auditor at Exelon Corporation. She previously served as the lead internal auditor at Underwriters Laboratories.
Financial Group of Upstate New York, received the Life Underwriters Training Council Fellow (LUTCF) designation from The American College. It is one of the industry’s premier professional credentials. ’07 BA Daniel P. Puccio is the new associate director of student affairs at Penn State York. He previously served as the coordinator for campus programs at the University of New Orleans. ’08 MSED Greg R. Fargo is the new head coach of women’s ice hockey at Colgate University. He previously served as head coach of women’s ice hockey and golf at Elmira College. ’08 BA Kevin A. Fields is a new seminarian for the Archdiocese of Washington. He is enrolled in pre-theology formation to the Roman Catholic priesthood at the Blessed John Paul II Seminary in Washington, DC. He was previously a loan accounting specialist at Sandy Spring Bank.
’05 MS Preston R. Teague was promoted to senior manager of community relations and youth football at the Buffalo Bills. He is in his ninth season with the team.
’09 BS Allison T. Hojnowski was promoted to manager of community relations at the Buffalo Bills. She is in her fifth season with the team.
’07 BS, MBA ’08 Alison (Hohman) Clohessy was promoted to In Charge Senior Accountant at Brock, Schechter & Polakoff LLP.
’07 BS Abbey E. Kneeppel, financial services representative at MetLife
’10 MBA John M. Canty III was promoted to vice president at Roosevelt and Cross Inc. He has been with the company since 2009.
’10 BA Michael J. Riccio is the new database administrator at Read to Succeed Buffalo. He previously completed a year with AmeriCorps VISTA in Buffalo at the Seneca Street Community Development Corporation, where he developed an after-school homework program for teens. ’11 BS, MS ’12 Nicole G. Alexander is the new staff accountant at Lumsden and McCormick LLP. She previously served as an intern at Niagara Financial Group. ’11 BA Cory D. Conacher signed a two-year contract with the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning. He previously played for the AHL’s Norfolk Admirals. He also received the AHL’s Dudley “Red” Garrett Memorial Award for outstanding rookie and was named MVP of the American Hockey League. ’11 BS Adam D. Jones, lacrosse player for the Colorado Mammoth, led the allrookie team of the National Lacrosse League. He was also named Rookie of the Year by the National Lacrosse League. He broke his team’s record for total goals scored in a season by a rookie. ’12 MS Patrick S. Massaro II is the new veterans and military services coordinator at SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Canton. ’11 BA Kaleigh M. Ziobro was promoted to client services coordinator at the Albany branch of Patricia Lynch Associates.
To see what alumni events are happening in your area, visit the alumni calendar of events at canisius.edu/alumni.
Snowbirds: Save the Date If you fly south for the winter, then mark your calendar to attend one of Canisius College’s popular alumni receptions in the Sunshine State of Florida. For more information, contact the Office of Alumni Engagement at 1-800-201-4952.
West Palm Beach March 15 Fort. Lauderdale March 17 Naples March 19 Venice March 14
I n M emoriam Franklin B. Pinzel Sr. ’40 December 7, 2011 Norma (Lankes) Steffan ’40, HON ’87 | April 14, 2012 Jack E. Dawson ’42 April 17, 2012 Edward W. Goliber ’43, PhD May 6, 2012 George E. Schreiner ’43, HON ’73, MD April 12, 2012 Laurence P. Paul Jr. ’46 March 12, 2012 Darwin J. Fischer ’47 January 8, 2012 Richard R. Heinold ’47 March 26, 2012 Robert A. Jerussi ’50, PhD April 30, 2012 Jerry J. Paladino ’50, MSED ’51 April 10, 2012 James J. Ralabate ’50 May 9, 2012 Lorraine M. Hickler MSED ’51 May 11, 2012 Albert E. Monin ’51 June 23, 2012 Nicholas J. Sapienza ’51 March 13, 2012 Louis S. Dubiel ’52, MSED ’54 December 25, 2011 L. Thomas Fox Jr. ’52 March 24, 2012 Paul E. Giles ’52 May 17, 2012
Edith A. Martin ’52, PhD April 5, 2012 Kevin M. McCarthy ’52 May 18, 2012 Thomas F. Spiess ’52 February 1, 2012 Donald T. Murcko ’53 April 16, 2012 Canisius E. Kroth ’54 June 22, 2012 Paul V. McCarthy ’55 May 16, 2012 Anthony P. DePalma ’56 April 25, 2012 Joseph R. Fedor ’56 April 21, 2012 Raymond P. Arno ’57 April 5, 2012 Hon. Angelo F. Tona ’57 April 13, 2012 Joseph A. Deck Sr. ’58 May 25, 2012 Leon A. Gawron ’58 April 6, 2012 David J. Chojnacki ’60 April 1, 2012 Joseph J. Jablonski ’60, MS ’64 June 21, 2012 Leonard S. Lewandowski ’60, MSED ’64 | April 18, 2012 Stephen Stepus MSED ’60 January 4, 2012 David N. Wilson ’60, MSED ’67 April 27, 2012
William C. Brown ’63 March 28, 2012 Lawrence J. Hughes MSED ’64 May 8, 2012 Richard M. McClory ’65 December 24, 2011 William F. Burns MSED ’66 April 29, 2012 Robert J. Lynch ’70 April 15, 2012 James J. Santucci ’70 April 20, 2012 Barbara L. Goracke ’75 April 15, 2012 Walter J. Kapela ’75 May 6, 2012 Barbara (Summers) Malcolm ’79 March 28, 2012 Bruce S. Reopolos ’79 April 20, 2012 Richard F. Rojek ’81 April 17, 2012 James R. McHugh ’82 April 4, 2012 Sandra L. Hollander MS ’90 April 2, 2012 John J. Ficzere MSED ’92 June 17, 2012 Darlene M. (Campagna) Grabenstatter MSED ’92, MSED ’01 | May 31, 2012 David A. Stephans Jr. MBA ’97 May 31, 2012
C ANISIUS COLLEGE M AGA ZINE • WINTER 2013 |
Kyle (Brzezinski) Bourque ’03 and Dean Bourque ’05, a son, Zane Karekin, born June 22, 2012
Larry E. Manth ’88 and Julie M. (Coleman) Manth, a son, Jonathan James, born May 6, 2012
Kyle K. (Oetinger) Cunningham ’02, MS ’04 and Todd Cunningham, a daughter, Finnley Faith, born December 24, 2011
Tracy L. (DiBiasio) Rozewicz ’02, MS ’04 and Shaun D. Rozewicz, triplet daughters, Brynn Victoria, Adalynn Louise and Elena Marie, born October 13, 2011
Carly J. Czech ’07 and Trevor Stacy, a son, Wyatt Andrew, born April 7, 2012
James P. Schnell ’95 and Dawn (Tobin) Schnell, a daughter, Jenna Maureen, born December 8, 2011
Gregory G. Flammer ’97, MBA ’04 and Rachel L. (Voerg) Flammer, a daughter, Ava Carys, born May 23, 2012
Sarah E. Signorino ’04, MS ’08, BA ’12 and Jerod J. Sikorskyj ’04, a daughter, Mary Signorino, born January 3, 2012
Nicole M. Geandreau ’06 and Michael Murrin, a daughter, Ella Rose, born February 29, 2012 Nicole M. (Aquino) Gothgen ’00, MD and Peter A. Gothgen ’01, MSED ’08, a son, Anthony Lucas, born March 13, 2012 Lindsay A. (Hathaway) Goulette ’07 and William C. Goulette ’06, MBA ’11, a daughter, Maggie Lynn, born December 9, 2011
T H I S I S S U E ’ S F E AT U R E D B A B Y G R I F F
Cole Grayson born to John B. Schaller '97 and Kristy (Riordan) Schaller | February 22, 2012
Keep Up with
Michelle E. (Wall) Janak ’03 and Adam M. Janak, a son, Jackson Eli, born November 12, 2011 Bree C. Kramer ’00, MD and Aaron Blackley, a son, Finn Patrick, born March 3, 2012 Katherine M. (Seyler) Leonardis ’03 and Nicholas E. Leonardis ’05, a daughter, Abigail Genevieve, born June 12, 2012
Shawn C. Tierney ’98 and Tracy M. Tierney, a son, Noah Alan, born May 15, 2012 Cassie J. (Peglow) Wachowiak ’07, MBA ’10 and Marc N. Wachowiak ’07, a daughter, Evelyn Steele, born March 19, 2012
Think your baby ought to be in pictures? Send us a photo of your newborn with his/her name and date of birth. Each issue, we will draw from the entries. If your child’s picture is chosen, he/she will be featured as the next “Baby Griff.” Send photos to: Canisius College Magazine Baby Pictures; 2001 Main Street, Lyons Hall 209; Buffalo, NY 14208 or email a high resolution photo to firstname.lastname@example.org. ALL Baby Griff photos submitted can be viewed on the college’s alumni site at canisius.edu/alumni/wedding_births.asp. Photos will be returned if a self-addressed, stamped envelope is provided.
Stephanie C. Boglev ’00, MSED ’04 and Nicholas Schmidle on May 26, 2012 *Kathryn J. Calderone ’04 and Mario J. Ferrentino ’03 on May 26, 2012 Mary C. Calvert ’05, MSED ’09 and Thomas Kanaley Jr. on February 18, 2012
Friend us on Facebook: facebook.com/canisiuscollegealumni
*Ryan P. Cannon ’05 and Kara Harvey on June 9, 2012 *Jennifer J. Crosby ’06 and Gregory Finnerty on June 9, 2012 Meghann L. Drury ’01, PhD and Terence Grogan on June 9, 2012
Follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/CanisiusCollege
Join us on Linkedin: linkedin.com/groups?gid=76807
Rachel L. Elersic ’10 and Joshua M. Henry ’06 on June 9, 2012
*Kathryn Gaughan MS ’05 and Robert F. Fahey III ’03, MBA ’07 on April 28, 2012 *Teresa M. Golebiewski ’10 and Thomas A. Maurici ’10 on June 22, 2012 *Amanda C. Herko ’07, DO and Eugene R. Przespo ’07, PharmD, on June 2, 2012 *Jenelle E. Kostran ’05 and Michael Lukasik on June 2, 2012 *Mary Adair Luhr ’05 and Robert J. Amo on April 21, 2012 Cheryl A. (Starr) Masaitis ’75 and Marvin E. Spychaj ’71 on June 23, 2012 Matthew T. Norman ’03 and Anastasia Long on May 5, 2012 Jesse L. Sobocinski ’11 and Kory J. Watts ’06 on May 5, 2012 Amelia M. Zapp ’05 and Matthew L. Swehla on July 21, 2012
New job? Newly married? New arrival? Simply email your news and notes to email@example.com. The editors will share your accomplishments in a future issue of Canisius College Magazine. Just remember to indicate Alumni Note, Alumni Wedding or Baby Griff in the subject field of your email.
*Indicates married at Christ the King Chapel
FIELD O DREAMS James Dobmeier ’80 champions his home turf as a national player in a competitive industry. story: Martin j. Haummesser | Photography: TOM WOLF '86
the surface, it's apparent that hard work and entrepreneurial spirit helped James Dobmeier '80 build a thriving business. Dig a little deeper, however, and you’ll find a foundation of faith and fundamental life principles, which he emphatically credits for his success. "To me, the most important thing in the world is the Christian message," he explains. Dobmeier is founder and president of two sister companies: Surface America, the nation's leading playground surfacing company, and A-Turf, a major builder of synthetic turf athletic fields for schools and sports teams.
Headquartered in Williamsville, NY, the two companies, combined, employ 20 people (not including contract installation crews), and generate annual sales of $30 million. Both incorporate recycled materials into their products and systems, including rubber from post-consumer tires. Both share the same business philosophy. “We do our best on every project, work honestly and efficiently, and help solve problems for our clients,” says Dobmeier.
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"I have been blessed with business success and feel that it is an honor to give back to my alma mater which played a part in making it all possible."
Championing His Home Turf
Going to Bat for the Miracle League
Dobmeier founded Surface America in 1993, with the help of a corporate partner. The parent company provided financial and other support while he brought the entrepreneurial character necessary to take the company from nothing to first-year revenues of $2 million. According to Dobmeier, Surface America’s padded surfacing systems offer distinct safety advantages over wood chips, sand or pea gravel often used on playgrounds, which see an estimated 100,000 injuries annually.
If Dobmeier takes pride in his business success, he is even more proud of his involvement with the Miracle League. The national baseball program serves children with disabilities in 240 cities across the country. Surface America is the official supply partner for the league and installs speciallydesigned playing field surfaces that are accessible to persons with disabilities, including children in wheelchairs and those with visual impairments.
“The company’s poured-in-place surface stays in place to offer consistent protection to help reduce playground injuries, especially severe incidents such as head trauma,” explains Dobmeier. As Surface America grew, its parent company saw opportunity in synthetic turf for athletic fields. The leadership approached Dobmeier, in 2002, to help found A-Turf. Today, A-Turf is the name behind nearly 300 hundred synthetic turf installations, from coast to coast, including fields used for football, baseball, soccer, lacrosse, field hockey and multi-sport complexes. The company did installations for the U.S. Marines at Camp Pendleton in California. A-Turf also installed the new field for Canisius College at the Demske Sports Complex in 2008 and the new artificial playing surface for the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium, its first project in an NFL facility. Both are highlights of the company’s work, says Dobmeier. “As a life-long Bills fan and a Canisius grad and sports supporter, those projects could not be more special,” he says.
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"When I see what they do, it brings tears to my eyes," Dobmeier says. "The league has grown to be one of our largest clients and we have installed surfaces at their facilities all over the country, including one in Grand Island." Laying the Groundwork As a Canisius student, Dobmeier couldn’t imagine he would be where he is today. He did, however, have a strong grasp of fundamental life principles necessary to succeed. Growing up in a Catholic family of six children in suburban Buffalo, Dobmeier learned early the importance of hard work and a strong Christian faith. He was also very sportsminded, playing baseball and football in high school, as well as intramural sports at Canisius College. He points to his parents and oldest brother, Robert, as his greatest influences due to their strong work ethic and spirituality. Robert attended Canisius for two years prior to entering a Catholic seminary, and eventually became a professor of social work and counseling at SUNY Brockport. (A younger brother, Thomas, graduated from Canisius in 1985 and now attends dental school.) Coming from this background, Dobmeier says his choice of Canisius was a natural.
“I loved how the Jesuit educational philosophy at Canisius combined intellect and Christian meaning to teach critical thinking and leadership skills." After earning a degree in marketing at Canisius, where he met his wife, Susan DeLong '82, Dobmeier earned an MBA in finance at the University at Buffalo. A position with a business forms company served as a stepping stone to his entry into the playground world, a move Dobmeier says was literally an answer to his prayers. "My Christianity intertwined with my career at this point as, quite frankly, I prayed for guidance and was led to a company called Sportec International." It was here that the young marketing manager was introduced to products designed to help make playgrounds safer. In the Game at Canisius
The Next Field of Dreams The Jesuit tradition that helped mold Dobmeier’s character in college continues to shape his Christian faith today. Among his many interests is writing, something Dobmeier hopes to do more of down the road as a way to promote the principles of Christianity. He maintains a web site, www.justrememberthebasics.com, in which he delves into a variety of topics from exercise to humility. "I have a heartfelt desire to write, integrating the Christian message and thoughts into current world issues," he says. "I want to inspire people to remember the basics – faith and family – and the rest will follow. These are the fundamentals I learned growing up and developed further at Canisius. Without them, I don't think I would have had the success I experienced."
Throughout his career, Dobmeier stayed connected to Canisius College by attending sporting events, particularly Griffin basketball games. His involvement with the college grew as he was selected to serve on the Board of Regents, now in the second year of his term. A-Turf is a major donor to the Blue and Gold Endowment and the Canisius Fund, while Dobmeier himself is a strong supporter of the Athletics Department Endowment, placing him as a member of the Leadership Society. "I have been blessed with business success and feel that it is an honor to give back to my alma mater which played a part in making it all possible," he explains. "Supporting Canisius goes far beyond the actual dollars given to ensure that what the college does so well continues into the future."
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In fall 1961, Canisius made the historic decision to admit the collegeâ€™s very first class of full-time female students to the day division of the School of Business Administration. Prior to this, women could attend the evening school at Canisius, and enroll in graduate classes and summer sessions. Nursing students attended day classes separate from the men. But it was the women in the School of Business Administration who were the first at Canisius to work full-time toward a bachelorâ€™s degree. More than a half-century later, the female students at Canisius outnumber their male counterparts by a ratio of 53:47.
Photos courtesy of Canisius College Archives and Special Collections