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President Hurley presented his 2019 convocation address, his tenth as president of Canisius College, on Monday, September 30 in the Montante Cultural Center. Members of the college’s Board of Trustees joined faculty and staff to hear the president’s state-of-the-college address.

The president began by sharing his experiences from a trip to El Salvador and the Arizona/Mexico border with his wife, Maureen, Canisius students and Kaitlyn Buehlmann of Campus Ministry.  He described the trip as “sad and deeply moving.” “What is happening in Central America and at our border is a human tragedy of unspeakable proportions.”

Shortly after, Canisius had an opportunity to stand up and be counted when Buffalo learned that hundreds of Congolese refugees were enroute to Buffalo while they pursued asylum claims. The college offered housing to 13 residents of Vive freeing up beds for new arrivals. President Hurley expressed how grateful he was to members of the Canisius community who stepped forward to welcome those who stayed on campus with home-cooked meals, food, gift cards, and above all, companionship. 

President Hurley discussed enrollment, including the encouraging results of the past recruitment cycle, and updated the community on the college’s strategic direction. He said the college has prioritized positioning Canisius to thrive in a chaotic and disruptive period in higher education that may lead to a significant consolidation of colleges and universities in the Northeast and Midwest. He said that in this environment, developing a keen sense of who we are, determining what the aspirational – but also realistic – possibilities might be, and deciding how we might position ourselves to seize the best opportunities before us seems to me to be an aggressive and appropriate vision for Canisius. He also noted the continuing financial challenges Canisius faces, estimating that the college needs four more “good” years to stabilize. 

President Hurley encouraged all to capitalize on the positive momentum and outlined plans for “reimagining” Canisius – understanding who we are and what we do best. He recognized a number of academic accomplishments that highlight Canisius’ strength in scholarship, teaching excellence, and service to the broader community. The road ahead includes a resolute focus on new program development, fundraising, sustainability initiatives, mission and identity, and financial stability.

Upcoming Sesquicentennial news included the announcement of a series that will bring to campus Jesuit university presidents Rev. Joseph McShane, SJ, of Fordham, Dr. John DiGioia of Georgetown, and Rev. William Leahy of Boston College, to discuss “The Future of American Catholic Higher Education.” A keepsake edition of the fall Canisius Magazine will celebrate the Sesquicentennial and tell the history of the college era by era.

President Hurley ended by saying the observance of a milestone like the Sesquicentennial is a cause for celebration, and a cause for that great Christian virtue: hope. “Let the occasion of this anniversary strengthen and reinvigorate ourselves for the job ahead. Let’s stay attuned to the needs of the world and constantly discern where God may be calling us – in the students we serve, in the education we provide, and in the good that we seek to do in the world. Let’s resolve to tackle the challenges before us with a fresh burst of hope, a fresh burst of energy, a fresh burst of commitment, a fresh burst of creativity. Let’s remind ourselves constantly that we’re a great college that produces outstanding results. We have an incredible legacy of preparing leaders, of advancing our community, of contributing to our Church, of promoting justice in the world.  As they say, ‘We’ve got this!’ May God bless all of you and God bless our great Canisius College.”

Watch the full convocation here:

Submitted by: College Communications