Colleagues, friends and family gathered Friday afternoon in the Montante Cultural Center for the college’s annual Celebration of Service. New this year, the Celebration of Service honored all employees who reached five, 10, 15, 20, 25 or more years of service at the college. The event also honored those who have retired or will be retiring from the college this year.
More than 100 employees celebrated 1,712 years of service!
Bill Collins, vice president of institutional advancement and Kathleen Davis, vice president of admissions and enrollment management, assisted President John Hurley in the presentation of the awards.
Attendees also enjoyed a musical interlude by Cantio Sacra under the direction of Bradley Wingert.
To cap off the awards, Collins presented President Hurley with his own award, as he celebrated 20 years of service to college. Hurley then thanked all honorees for their outstanding contributions to the campus community.
A benediction by Joe Van Volkenburg, senior associate campus minister, concluded the event. Guests continued the celebration at a reception.
This year, we asked honorees to share some of their favorite memories. Enjoy this walk down memory lane.
Back before the era of cell phones, I was teaching an afternoon summer course which happened to coincide with the end of my wife’s pregnancy. Although I warned the students that I might get called away, I did not really expect it to happen. Sure enough, during the middle of a class, campus security stopped in to inform me that they had received a phone call that my wife was in labor. I made my apologies to the class and as I left to get to her side, the students cheered. Upon returning to the next class, stories were shared and my euphoria permeated the rest of the semester. To this day when I run into students who were in the class, they invariably note the memory of that experience.
The answer to the question about a favorite memory at Canisius for any faculty member is always going to be the students. They’re what we’re here for, they are why we teach. There’s an old saying that the best gifts that parents can give their children are roots and wings – roots so that they know where they came from, and wings so that they can fly wherever their bright futures take them.
We’re not their parents, but to a great extent, that’s our job as faculty as well, and I hope that they know that is our aim. Their wings come from the talents and abilities that they develop here at Canisius, and those wings will take them far. But they also have roots here. After they’ve gone, we still think about them, wonder how they’re doing, and take delight in hearing of their accomplishments and progress. After 10 years at Canisius, I have several hundred “children” out there in the world, and I continue to wish them all much success and happiness. They are, and will continue to be, my favorite memory at Canisius.
When I taught physical education in the KAC gymnasium, we bused in children from school #53 to engage in movement activities. The children were paired with our Canisius students to undertake the lessons. I recall seeing the faces of the young children as our students helped and taught them. Times have changed, I teach only online now. But I remember the bustling times of the gymnasium full of school children and our Canisius undergraduates. Wonderful memories of times gone by.
Students, too many to remember, all those who challenged and rewarded me. And almost any conversation with my colleague Girish Shambu, many of which were neither academic or work-related.
Giving Day! It was inspiring to see so many members of the Canisius community come together and show their love for 2001 Main Street.
Watching students develop into such nice young adults. While working in the Office of Disability Support and COPE, I’ve seen the obstacles that these students have overcome and the progress they are making within the community.
After our office moved from Health Science until about three years ago, I saw many names but I didn’t always meet the employees on our payroll. Since moving to the main campus, I have been able to put faces to many of the names and I am still meeting new people.
The storm of 2000 kept us here over night and we were able to process the payroll and get everyone paid on time. Again in 2016, with driving bans in place, Gary Everett drove me to Canisius to get the job done.
My proudest moments were the commencement ceremonies for my three children. I continue to work graduation and know how proud parents feel when their child walks across the stage.
I have always enjoyed working at Canisius College and will continue to enjoy the friendships I have made along the way.
I graduated from Canisius in 1972. Don Tollefsen, PhD, who was the chair of the Psychology Department at that time, was my mentor. He used to have two to three students and another faculty member to his home and we would talk about psychology and listen to music. He encouraged me to go to graduate school and work on a doctorate in psychology. We kept in touch over the four years I was at Syracuse University and then doing my clinical internship at the Syracuse Veterans Administration Hospital. When it came time to apply for teaching positions, Canisius had a developmental psychology and gerontology position which fit me perfectly. I interviewed for the position. While also interviewing at the University of Rhode Island (URI), I received a phone call from Tollefsen. He offered me the Canisius position and seriously encouraged me not to take the URI job. It was very funny looking at it in retrospect. Needless to say, I took the Canisius position and have been here ever since.
During winter, the college has a “Walk Like a Penguin” program to encourage safety when walking on ice and snow. I received an incident report where a staff member reported that they had slipped and fallen. The employee reported that they had slipped and suffered a bit of black and blue in the affected area. When I asked how this accident may be prevented, the individual replied “I am sorry, I forgot to walk like a penguin and I promise to do that the next time!”
Working at the Canisius Women’s Business Center has been a complete thrill for the last (almost) five years. The team I work with is innovative and completely dedicated. The success stories and business development that we support and create are so exciting and motivates us daily!
Simply choosing one memory in a 20-year span is nearly impossible. My best memories lie with student experiences. My teaching involved work with special education teacher candidates from the freshman to senior levels. The best memories came from the privilege of watching teacher candidates interact with their students. I am fortunate that this memory occurred time and again throughout my career. After each observation, I would return to campus with my heart singing. These feelings of pride and respect have sustained me throughout my career at Canisius and will remain as treasured memories throughout my life. I am honored to have had this opportunity – to me it was never a job.
One of my favorite memories was winning the 2005 MAAC championship here in Buffalo with an incredible group of awesome women!
A few years ago, when I first began teaching at Canisius, I was on campus and there were piles of early spring snow on the ground. I was finished for the day and I pulled out of my parking space when my back wheels slid and my car skidded very close to the vehicle next to me. Picture this now, I’m talking too close, not more than an inch. I was basically stuck because if I hit the gas more, I would have slid into the vehicle next to me causing an accident. I could call a tow truck – ugh. I could wait until the other driver came out and maybe they could move their car forward – ugh. I got out of the car and I’m sure I had an interesting look on my face and I think a few choice words may have slipped out of my mouth. A group of young male students noticed what happened. They came on over, stood back, inspected the perplexing situation, and one looked at another with a large grin. I thought, he must have a good idea. They began working together to physically lift the back end of my car up and moved it over. I just stood there, not believing these kids just picked up my car, with my jaw open, shaking my head because it actually worked! I still laugh to this day when I pass that parking spot behind Old Main because it always reminds me of their creative and helpful intervention that truly touched my spirit.