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Spotlight on Service

s-spa-service-learningSpanish faculty are committed to service learning.  The bulk of the programs’ 300-level courses on conversation, as well as some courses on composition, have a service-learning component for students to practice their language skills and glean cultural literacy through interaction with the Spanish-speaking populations of Buffalo. These populations include both long-term residents as well as migrant and refugee populations.  Groups that students serve include the Los Tainos retirement center, the Boys and Girls Club for after school programs, bilingual schools and Journey’s End/Vive la Casa.

In addition, students participate in service-learning field trips to Los Angeles working in a homeless, migrant worker shelter as part of a trip to LA gangland.  Spanish faculty also work with Campus Ministry to lead or translate for service-immersion trips. Most recently, Richard Reitsma, PhD, chair of the modern languages, literatures and cultures program, accompanied Josh Russell, PhD, assistant professor in Animal Behavior, Ecology and Conservation, and students on the Campus Ministry trip to El Salvador.  Margaret Stefanski, PhD, associate professor of modern languages, also accompanied students to El Salvador as well as India, with Campus Ministry.

Submitted by: Sara Morris, PhD, associate vice president, academic affairs

President’s Medal Conferred upon Judge Curtin


President John Hurley confers the President’s Medal upon the Honorable John T. Curtin ’46, HON ’78, during a ceremony at  the Robert H. Jackson United States Courthouse Atrium yesterday afternoon

Canisius President John J. Hurley conferred the President’s Medal upon the Honorable John T. Curtin ’46, HON ’78, in recognition of the magistrate’s remarkable tenure.

The senior U.S. District Judge for the Western District of New York stepped down from his position on April 12 following 48 years on the bench.  During his career, Judge Curtin oversaw such landmark cases as the 1972 Buffalo Schools desegregation suit and the 1994 ruling that found Hooker Chemical illegally dumped chemicals into Love Canal. He also oversaw the 1994 L.A. Boys gang case, in which he gave two of the longest prison terms in local history.

“Throughout his storied career, Judge Curtin has been a fierce advocate for civil and human rights, and the principle of equal justice under the law,” said President Hurley in conferring the medal.  “His faith in God and his devotion to his family, country and profession make him eminently well-qualified to be added to our distinguished list of President’s Medal honorees.”

The President’s Medal bears the phrase “For God and Country,” and is bestowed only periodically to individuals who have distinguished themselves in public life through service to God and community.  Since 1955, the President’s Medal has been conferred only 46 times.

Click here to read more about Judge Curtin’s historic tenure on the bench.

Submitted by: Public Relations

Update Your Email Signature


As part of the new branding process, the Marketing and Communication Department asks faculty and staff to please update their Outlook email signatures in order to create more consistency in email communications across the entire campus.

Detailed instructions have been added to the Creative and Web Services portal page. Login to the MyCanisius portal and click on the Creative and Web Services tab to learn more.

Submitted by: Marketing and Communication

Rev. Daniel J. Berrigan, SJ, Jesuit Peacemaking Fund

On April 30, 2016 Jesuit peace activist and author Rev. Daniel J. Berrigan SJ, died after a lifetime of working for justice. His life and actions made an impression on many during his 76 years as a Jesuit. As a memorial, the USA Northeast Province of the Society of Jesus has created the Rev. Daniel J. Berrigan, SJ, Jesuit Peacemaking Fund. The fund will directly benefit Jesuit works towards peacemaking throughout the entire eastern portion of the United States.

Read more about Rev. Daniel J. Berrigan, SJ, here.

Contribute to the Rev. Daniel Berrigan Jesuit Peacemaking Fund here.

Submitted by: Public Relations

Historic Canisius College Programs Featured in Western New York Heritage Magazine

Buffalo s Aviation Students Before WWII V1,N19 Spring 2016-page-001Two articles in Western New York Heritage Magazine (Spring 2016) prominently feature two historic Canisius initiatives that changed the landscape and future of the college. The authors both used resources available in the Rev. J. Clayton Murray SJ Archives and Special Collections to write their pieces.

Jacek Wysocki,’66 remembered an extravaganza he knew about that took place in the early 20th century. He visited the archives not long after he heard reports that a popular country singer’s four performances had sold out the First Niagara Center. Click here to read the story.

That was nothing compared to the brainchild of college president, Michael J. Ahern, who booked “The Passion Play of Buffalo.” This epoch play featured a cast of 200 which traced Christ’s odyssey from the plains of Bethlehem to Calvary.” Performed at the Teck Theatre, Main and Edward streets in 1914, more than 18,000 people saw it over the course of ten performances. Music was provided by the Canisius College Orchestra and the cast included students and alumni. By 1917, the play was reprised at the Majestic Theatre with especially composed music and adaptations from classical composers.

By 1920, Father Ahern decided to commemorate Canisius’ Golden Jubilee by bringing the Passion Play to campus. He also announced the Golden Jubilee $1,000,000 capital campaign. With that, the space now known as “The Quad” became the stage for a massive theatrical undertaking that included construction of a stage (15,136 sq. ft.), tiered seating for 3000 and cast of 500.  A revival in summer 1923 saw the cast increase by 200 and featured live animals including two camels (who later took up residence at the Buffalo Zoo), sheep that grazed in the quad, donkeys, horses and presumably a few neighborhood cats and dogs. At the premiere, Father Ahern shared a “successful completion of the Golden Jubilee campaign goal.” The funds derived from that Capital Campaign gave rise to two new wings on the original Old Main, and expanded curriculum. It is firmly believed that the popularity of the plays had “shone the spotlight on the school” and benefited the capital campaign, and enrollment.

Charles E. Stanley, Jr. writes in his article on the Aviation Cadet Training for the Army Air Forces (AFF). In 1939, the United States had yet to build up its military power, and war had already come to Europe. Industry began to answer the call with increased manufacture of planes for the war effort, but personnel lagged. The U.S. Army Air Corps, considered elite for its “rigorous physical standards”, had two other requirements—perfect eye-sight and two years of college. Stanley writes, “…only a quarter of American adults finished high school and only five percent had college degrees (at this time).” Click here to read the story.

By 1941, it was apparent that recruits would be needed. The AFF dropped the two-year college requirement for a qualifying exam. That opened the doors to thousands of recruits, but also caused a backlog in ability to train more than 70,000 recruits. That crisis was solved by providing basic training and then sending recruits into the Aircrew College Detachment Training (ACD) program at local colleges and universities. Canisius CDT trainees were housed at what is now Canisius High School and took their training in classrooms, drilled along Main St., near the Curtis-Wright and Bell aircraft factories and even the quad. By 1944, the CDT program was shut down. The impact on colleges was problematic: “…nearly half of their enrollees in 1943-44…” were military trainees. That left seats open for women, younger men eager to get an education to join the war effort, or seek promotion at their jobs in the factories manufacturing supplies, or to continue education to teach the next generation of Americans. Campuses would never be the same, and after the war, the GI Bill gave a boost to enrollment, too. Indeed some of the men who first saw the campus as CDT trainees returned.

For more information on the Passion Play or the Canisius College Detachment Training Program contact, Kathleen DeLaney, archivist at or Ext. 8421

Submitted by: Kathleen DeLaney, archivist and special collections librarian