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Shana M. Richardson ’06, MS ’19 joins the Canisius community on June 20, 2023 as director of the New Buffalo Institute (NBI). 

In this role, Richardson will lead programs to actively engage Canisius in the local community. She will oversee aligning the institution’s educational, service and research efforts in furtherance of its Jesuit mission in Buffalo, with a special emphasis on the East Side of Buffalo. Her leadership will guide organizing, focusing, and prioritizing the college’s existing connections and activities in the community while developing new initiatives to support community needs and priorities. She will work closely with public and private partners on initiatives that advance mutually established goals aimed at stimulating the economy of the region, revitalizing neighborhoods, and improving the quality of life for residents in four strategic areas of focus: 

  1. Urban Education Initiatives 
  2. Neighborhood Development and Revitalization
  3. Entrepreneurship and Economic Development
  4. Community-Based Learning and Community Service

Richardson is a proud Buffalo native, born and raised on the city’s East side.  From an early age, Canisius College has been a part of her story.

Shana grew up within walking distance of the KAC, and walked there every summer for 5 consecutive years to participate in the National Youth Sports Program, housed on the Canisius College campus. It was this early exposure to the institution that led Shana to choose Canisius to pursue her undergraduate degree in English. Shana received the Urban Leadership and Learning Community (ULLC) scholarship, known at that time as the McGowan Scholarship, a full 4-year scholarship, to attend Canisius, and her time was greatly enriched by her participation in this community of scholars.

Shana went on to earn her BA in English from Canisius in 2006, and her MA in English from the University at Buffalo in 2008. She returned home to Canisius upon completion of her graduate degree as an adjunct in the English department, while also teaching at Bryant & Stratton College and Medaille College.

In 2013, Shana accepted the position of Coordinator for Academic Support Services for the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) at Canisius College, and proudly served in that role until July 2019. During her time in HEOP, Shana earned an additional graduate degree in the Higher Education Student Affairs Administration program in May 2019. In July 2019, Shana was granted directorship of Medaille College’s HEOP, as the first Director of the inaugural program. She has also served as the Director of Student Support Services for the Buffalo Educational Opportunity Center, which serves historically marginalized adult students.

Throughout her professional career, one thing that continued to stay with her was the ULLC’s call to pour into local youth so that one day its graduates would do the same for their Buffalo community. It was this call that led her to her current role as the Director of the New Buffalo Institute here at Canisius, and that has also kept her closely connected to the institution over the years. In addition to this new role, Shana continues to serve as an adjunct instructor in the HESAA program and is also an active member of the ULLC Alumni Council. She is excited to take over the work of the New Buffalo Institute!

Shana resides in the historic Hamlin park area with her husband, Marques, and their 3 children, Micah, 11, and Zoey and Zaryah, both 7.

Enjoy welcoming Shana Richardson to her new role with our Canisius family!

Submitted by: Jennifer Lodi-Smith, AVPAA & Cece Gotham, Chief of Staff