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Urban Leadership Learning Community

It is my pleasure to announce that Michael Forest, PhD, will begin a three-year term as the new director of the Urban Leadership Learning Community, beginning June 1, 2018. Dr. Forest will succeed the co-founder of the program, E. Roger Stephenson, PhD, who together with Ken Sroka, PhD, developed ULLC as a “team learning” community to recruit, support and mentor first-generation college students from under-served communities.

I would like to thank Dr. Stephenson for his 17 years of service and both he and Dr. Sroka for their unwavering dedication and mentorship of so many ULLC students who are now proud Canisius College graduates.

Submitted by: Margaret Cain McCarthy, PhD, vice president for academic affairs






Michael Forest, PhD

Town Hall Meeting is Today, Wednesday, Dec. 6

All Canisius faculty and staff members are invited to attend a Town Hall Meeting with President Hurley today, Wednesday, December 6 in the Regis Rooms from 2:30 – 3:30 p.m.

President Hurley will provide an update on a number of topics and respond to any questions you may have.

Submitted by: Laura A. Montaro, executive associate, Office of the President

Pray with the Presidents

All faculty and staff are welcome to pray with President John J. Hurley and USA President Amelia Greenan at Mass on Monday, December 11 at 12:05 p.m. in Christ the King Chapel. Take this opportunity to pray for the needs of our community.

Submitted by: Mike Hayes, director of Campus Ministry


Mason Authors First Children’s Book

Will Mason, a Leadership Society gift officer for the Canisius Fund, released his first children’s book, The Boy with the Rainbow Heart, in late November.  The book is dedicated to Mason’s sister, Jessica, who was bullied in high school as a gay teenager. The book addresses what it means to be LGBTQ.

“My hope is that the book will help children who feel different in some way,” says Mason. “I would like to see schools include more diverse literature in their curriculums. The book’s message is subtle so that elementary school children can learn about acceptance.”

The Boy with the Rainbow Heart tells the story of a happy boy who lives in the “Town of Gray,” where no one understands him and the residents live in fear of those who are different. Eventually the boy’s feelings of joy, love and acceptance become infectious. The town shines under the glow of a rainbow and the residents become happy, too, and no longer fearful. The lesson is to accept all types of people as long as they are kind.

“So many LGBTQ kids don’t feel accepted within their families, homes and communities and that needs to change,” says Jessica Lake Mason, Will’s sister. “I believe that the book will make kids feel like they can see themselves as role models.”

Mason published the book thanks to a Kickstarter campaign. His initial goal was $4,000, but he raised more than $12,000. The idea caught the attention of Ray Ganoe, president and chief executive officer of Evergreen Health and the Evergreen Association, which includes The Pride Center of WNY.  The Pride Center sponsored the book, as well as the book launch party.

“I am eternally grateful for all of Ray’s support,” says Mason. “This book would not have been possible without him.”

To further his goal of increasing the diversity of literature in schools, Mason donated copies of The Boy with the Rainbow Heart to school districts in Cleveland, OH, Syracuse, Rochester, East Aurora and Orchard Park. He has plans to donate to additional local districts in the future.

The Boy with the Rainbow Heart is available at local bookstores including Talking Leaves, Burning Books Buffalo and the Western New York Book Arts Center. It is also available on and

Submitted by: College Communications


40 Under 40

A luncheon to celebrate the 40 Under 40 honorees was held December 1. The Canisius alumni group is pictured here with President John Hurley.

Buffalo Business First recently named 14, yes 14, Canisius graduates to its 40 Under 40 list! This is easily the largest group of Griffs since the list’s inception in 1992. Congratulations to the honorees, who are leaders in our community!

The full list of Canisius honorees:

  • Jessica Baker ᾽99, associate counsel, health services, SUNY Office of General Counsel, University at Buffalo
  • Peter Cimino ᾽03, founder/CEO, Lloyd Taco Trucks and Catering
  • Joshua Hutter ᾽01, partner/owner/dentist, Western New York Dental Group
  • Sarah Knodel ᾽03, director of quality measurement and improvement, Independent Health
  • William Moore ᾽00, senior partner, Lipsitz Green Scime Cambira LLP
  • Thomas Muraca MBA ᾽10, vice president of sales and marketing, KATZ Americas
  • Lori Overdorf ᾽17, director of development and youth services, Valley Community Association Inc.
  • Mary Owusu ᾽03, director of analytics, Eric Mower & Associates
  • Amy Polowy ᾽01, managing partner, Gross Polowy LLC
  • Suni Stachura ᾽01, manager, Rural Transit Service
  • Patti Stephen ᾽11, executive director, Buffalo Prep
  • Cord Stone ᾽09, executive director, Community Access Services of WNY
  • Susan Was ᾽03, MS ᾽06, director of human resources, Curbell Inc.
  • Katherine Zoratti ᾽01, MS ᾽04, MBA ᾽10, senior marketing manager, Ivoclar Vivodent Inc.

More than 160 nominations were received this year. The class was selected by a six-person panel of former 40 Under 40 winners led by James Morrell, deputy director of public transit at the Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority.

Submitted by: College Communications