Canisius President John J. Hurley updated the campus community on the state of the college and priorities for the year ahead, during his annual convocation address on Monday, October 1.

Click here to view the convocation address.

President Hurley opened his remarks with a welcome to new faculty and staff at Canisius, including Ian Day, interim vice president for enrollment management and Denise Rotondo, PhD, the new dean for the Wehle School of Business.  President Hurley also bid goodbye and good luck to Terri Mangione, PhD, vice president for student affairs, who leaves Canisius this week after a total of 24 years to become vice president for student affairs at sister Jesuit institution Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles.

President Hurley continued his convocation address reporting on the state of the college in three critical areas:

Sara E. Signorino, director of mission and identity, opens the President’s Convocation with a prayer

Freshman enrollment, he explained, was below goal although its effects were somewhat mitigated by an improvement in the freshman to sophomore retention rate and higher net tuition revenue per freshman student.  Canisius also recruited more transfer students than last year and graduate enrollment for fall was at 96 percent of goal.  The number of new graduate students is up over last year for each school.

Canisius completed several facilities projects over the summer with an intentional focus on first impression items aimed at improving the way the campus shows to prospective students.  In addition, the college completed several projects in Horan-O’Donnell to improve the Chemistry Department’s laboratories and offices, and the Division of Institutional Advancement moved out of the building on Agassiz Circle and into a newly-renovated George Martin Hall.  The Agassiz property is now on the market to be sold.

President Hurley also updated the campus community on Canisius faculty and the state of the college’s curriculum.  He indicated that 34 faculty members took the retirement incentive offered by the college last year.   Canisius hired 12 new faculty who began this semester and additional hires are expected to be made this year for 2019-20.  Additional good news, President Hurley said, is that departments reported strong candidate pools in their searches.

The process of program review and curriculum revitalization remains a large challenge and a major priority for the college.  President Hurley reported that the Academic Programming Board (APB) discontinued a number of low-enrolled programs but also encouraged such new program development as masters programs in data analytics, sport product development, childhood education/TESOL and childhood/special education. Work continues to gain approval and accreditation for a physician assistant program.

Following his report on the state of the college, President Hurley turned his remarks toward priorities for Canisius in the year ahead.

Cantio Sacra performed prior to and at the conclusion of the President’s Convocation on Monday, October 1

The greatest challenge, he explained, lies in generating more revenue for the college.  While that means recruiting more students, President Hurley emphasized it also means developing new sources of revenue. He encouraged the entire campus community to develop a revenue mindset and consider ways that can help improve the student experience or assist with student recruitment.  Early success stories include this summer’s announcement that the college is making residence hall space available to students from Erie Community College; faculty collaboration with the Center for Professional Development to introduce lifelong learning opportunities for people interested in a wide variety of subjects; and grant-generated revenue similar to that expected as a result of the National Institute on Aging grant awarded to researchers at the Institute for Autism Research and the Department of Psychology.

President Hurley also reported that the Division of Institutional Advancement is implementing the recommendations of a report completed last year by West Wind Consulting.  The recommendations focus on increasing the college’s fundraising capacity; maximizing current year, unrestricted gifts, which can be helpful to the operating budget; and implementing a targeted campaign effort toward the completion of Science Hall.

Though President Hurley’s convocation address was long on challenges, he underscored how the many positive changes happening at Canisius will ultimately be the foundation of the college’s recovery.  He called for resolve among the campus community to “tackle the challenges before us” with new energy, new commitment and a new burst of creativity.  Let us remind ourselves, he continued, that “we are a great college that gets outstanding results.  We have an incredible legacy of providing an extraordinary education for 150 years.”

To keep these positive thoughts top-of-mind, President Hurley announced Canisius Proud – a new internal initiative that summarizes the essential truth about Canisius and the great education provided to students.  As the campaign is rolled in the coming weeks and months, the campus community will see photos of alumni and faculty who are doing great things and statistics about academic outcomes.

“As you see these points of pride around campus,” concluded President Hurley, “commitment them to memory and communicate them to all those you meet whether at Wegmans, at your house of worship, at the park or the gym.”

Let’s tell the world, President Hurley stated, “that Canisius remains the place where leaders are made!”

Submitted by: College Communications