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Canisius College /kəˈnʃəs/ is a private Jesuit college in Buffalo, New York. It was founded in 1870 by Jesuits from Germany and is named after St. Peter Canisius.

Canisius College
Canisius College logo.jpg
Latin: Collegium Canisii
Established1870; 149 years ago (1870)
Religious affiliation
Roman Catholic (Jesuit)
Academic affiliations
Endowment$110.5 million (2016)[1]
PresidentJohn J. Hurley
Academic staff
Total: 368
(174 full-time/194 part-time)[2]
Students3,464 [3]
Undergraduates2,398 [3]
Postgraduates1,066 [3]
Location, ,
United States
CampusUrban - 72 acres (29.1 ha)
ColorsBlue      and      Gold[4]
NicknameGolden Griffins / Lady Griffins
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division I - MAAC AH
Sports17 varsity sports teams[5]
(8 men's & 9 women's)
MascotPetey the Griffin
The campus
The campus

One of 28 Jesuit institutions in the nation, Canisius offers more than 100 undergraduate majors and minors and around 34 master's and certificate programs.



"Canisius" has its roots in the Jesuit community that arose from disputed ownership of St. Louis Church in Buffalo in 1851.[6][7] Rev. Lucas Caveng, a German Jesuit, along with 19 families from St. Louis Church, founded St. Michael's Church on Washington St.[7] The college followed, primarily for serving sons of German immigrants, along with the high school in 1870, first at 434 Ellicott St. and next to St. Michael's.[8] In 1913 construction of the Old Main building at 2001 Main St. was completed.[9] The early presidents of the college were German Jesuits.[10]


Canisius offers more than 100 majors, minors, and special programs. The college is accredited by the Middle States Association Commission on Higher Education, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). In fall 2009, Canisius College introduced a new major in Animal Behavior, Ecology, and Conservation.[11] Other new majors include Creative Writing,[12] Health and Wellness, and Journalism.[13] With the George E. Schreiner '43, MD, Pre-Medical Center as an asset,[14] the college caters strongly to the biological and health science fields and holds close relationships with both the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM).

Student lifeEdit

Canisius has on campus about 90 clubs and organizations, vetted by the Undergraduate Student Association and its Senators. Program offerings include the Best of Buffalo series, Fusion game nights, the Fall Semi-Formal, the Canisius Royals competition, the Mass of the Holy Spirit with Fall BBQ and Bonfire, Griffin Week, and Griff Fest (formerly "Quad Party" & "Springfest").[15][16] With a growing student population in its colleges, Buffalo has begun offering free Canal-side concerts, along with "Shakespeare in the Park", the Polish Broadway Market, Silo City "Boom Days" (on Buffalo's industrial history), and Dyngus Day.


The college sponsors 20 NCAA Division 1 Athletic teams and is a member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) as well as the Atlantic Hockey Conference.[17] Men's sports include baseball, ice hockey, and golf. Women's sports include volleyball and softball. The Golden Griffins compete in the NCAA Division I and are members of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) for most sports, except for men's ice hockey which competes in the Atlantic Hockey Association. In 2013, the men's ice hockey team won its first Atlantic Hockey Championship, earning a bid to the NCAA Tournament.[citation needed] In 2008, Canisius men's lacrosse won the MAAC tournament and earned its first bid to the NCAA Men's Lacrosse Championship tournament.[18]

The Women's Lacrosse team won MAAC Championships four years in a row (2010-2014). The 2008 Baseball team won its first regular season MAAC championship, with a 41-13 season, and the following year made its first appearance in the MAAC Championship game.[19] In 2013, the team won the MAAC Championship and received its first bid to the NCAA tournament. The Canisius College softball team won the 2009 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament for its 3rd consecutive title, marking the team's 11th trip to the NCAA tournament in 15 years.[20] In its rivalry with Niagara University Canisius won the Canal Cup two of the first three years (2008 and 2009).[21] Intramural sports are also offered for students, faculty, and staff.

Canisius' mascot is the Golden Griffin. The college adopted the griffin as a mascot in 1932, after Charles A. Brady ('33) wrote a story in a Canisius publication honoring Buffalo's centennial year as a city. Brady wrote about Jesuit-educated explorer Rene-Robert LaSalle's Le Griffon, which was built in Buffalo. The griffin was first used on the La Salle medal in 1932 and from there spread to the college newspaper and sports teams.[22][23][24][25] According to, the griffin is a "legendary creature with the body, tail, and back legs of a lion; the head and wings of an eagle; and an eagle's talons as its front feet." It represents values such as courage, boldness, intelligence, and strength befitting students and athletes alike.

The College was also the first home field of the Buffalo All-Americans of the early National Football League. Around 1917 Buffalo manager Barney Lepper signed a lease for the team to play their home games at Canisius College. The All-Americans played games at Canisius before relocating to Bison Stadium in 1924.[26]

Greek lifeEdit

Canisius College's fraternities and sororities are overseen by the Canisius College Office of Student Life; hazing is ruled out. The three college-approved Greek organizations on campus are the Lambda chapter of the fraternity Sigma Phi Epsilon (SigEp), the sorority Phi Sigma Sigma, and the professional organization Alpha Kappa Psi (AK Psi).[27] Also there is a Classics Club which fosters interest in the study of ancient Greek and Roman history, language, and culture; it hosts events like readings and discussions of ancient texts, Saturnalia, and alcohol-free toga parties. The club fosters the Jesuit value of a Classical education, as well as cura personalis.[28]


Canisius College is the Reserve Officer Training Corps hub for Western New York. The Golden Griffin Battalion is composed of students from Canisius, University at Buffalo (UB), Hilbert College, D'Youville College, Daemen College, Medaille College, Buffalo State College, and Erie Community College.


Canisius earned the 22nd spot in the top tier of U.S. News & World Report's 2017 rankings of America's Best Regional Universities – North.[29] U.S. News also ranked Canisius thirteenth in the 2016 "Great Schools, Great Prices" listing among regional universities in the North.[30] Canisius earned the ninth spot among 49 regional universities in the North in U.S. News' Best Colleges for Veterans Ranking for 201.[29] Canisius College alumni ranked first (1st), overall, in New York State on the 2014 CPA exam cycle, with a 75 percent pass rate, in the category of medium programs.[31] The college also boasts a strong Pre-Medical program that has continuously shown greater than 85% acceptance rates to graduate medical programs [32]

Campaign for CanisiusEdit

In the fall of 2007, the college announced plans to raise $90 million by the year 2012 for capital improvements and to enhance the college's endowment. A Legacy of Leadership: The Campaign for Canisius College was the largest fund-raising initiative in the college's history.[33] Of the $90 million goal, $47 million was designated to fund the creation of an interdisciplinary science center at the college. The undertaking created a vital physical and visual connection between various parts of the campus. Included in this program was the full acquisition of a 1,500 space parking garage which provided room for additional commuter students. The college announced on November 20, 2008 the acquisition of the building from The Uniland Partnership of Delaware LP.[34] A Legacy of Leadership: The Campaign for Canisius concluded on May 31, 2012 and surpassed its goal by $5.5 million. Phase I of the college's interdisciplinary science center (Science Hall) opened in August 2012.


Canisius is served by two stations on the Buffalo Metro Rail, the Humboldt-Hospital Station near Sisters Hospital and the Delavan Canisius College Station near the Koessler Athletic Center, at opposite ends of the campus, as well as by Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority by bus. Shuttle service and Metro passes are also available for students.

Student run mediaEdit

The student weekly newspaper is The Griffin, which replaced The Canisian in 1933 and went online in 2013.[35][36] The annual Quadrangle magazine contains student writings, artwork, and photographs. The Azuwur is the College yearbook. Public-access television cable TV broadcasts to Canisius College from its fourth floor studio at Lyons Hall. The WIRE, replacing WCCG, is the college's radio station, which broadcasts over the campus television system and is online through the College website.[37] The Courier is a magazine-style opinion-orientated publication, begun in 2006. It allows students to freely express their opinions, however controversial.[38]


Christ the King ChapelEdit

Christ the King Chapel, designed by Buffalo architect Duane Lyman,[39] is centrally located to "symbolize its importance".[40] It was completed in 1951 and has seating for 492.[39]

Science HallEdit

Science Hall was built as a Sears and Roebuck store in 1929.[41] The college has allocated $68 million for its renovation, over $35 million of which has been raised[42] with help from the John R. Oishei Foundation.[43]

Science Hall Parking RampEdit

Public Safety Booth
Carpool section of ramp

The parking ramp originally served the Sears and Roebuck building at 1901 Main St. However, throughout the history of ramp, Canisius students have used it for parking, with Sears advertising in The Griffin that parking was free.[44][45] Acquisition of the property has eliminated parking problems.[46]

Churchill Academic TowerEdit

The 11-story Churchill Academic Tower was built in 1971, designed by Leroy H. Welch.[47] It is named for its chief benefactor, Rev. Clinton H. Churchill and his wife Francis.[48] The Tower is routinely derided but serves as a highly functional space.[47]

Andrew L. Bouwhuis LibraryEdit

Built in 1957 and upgraded in 1988[49] and from 2013 through 2015,[50] Andrew L. Bouwhuis Library, named for Andrew L. Bouwhuis, S.J., college librarian from 1935 to 1955, furnishes extensive area for study and research.[51] It seats 500 people[52] and includes group study rooms, an audio-visual listening/viewing area, a rare book room, an instruction room, a Curriculum Materials Center, and a lounge,[53] along with private study rooms accommodating one to eight people.

The Koessler Athletic CenterEdit

Koessler Athletic Center

Located at 1833 Main Street in Buffalo, the Koessler Athletic Center (KAC) is named after J. Walter Koessler, class of '22.[54] The facility has a swimming pool, two weight rooms, two gymnasiums, and locker rooms and offices for athletic coaches and support staff.[55]

Public Safety DepartmentEdit

Canisius College Public Safety[56] employs armed peace officers pursuant to NYS CPL 2.10,[57] who are authorized to enforce all Federal, State, and Municipal laws.[58]

Notable alumni and honorary degree recipientsEdit

Canisius has approximately 40,000 living alumni worldwide who are working in the fields of business, journalism, government, law, medicine, and sports.

In academia, notable Canisius alumni include:

  • James Demske, S.J. (Class of 1947), President of Canisius College (1966–1993)[59]

In business, notable Canisius alumni include:

In journalism and television, notable Canisius alumni include:

In government and law, notable Canisius alumni include:

  • John Thomas Curtin (Class of 1946), former United States Attorney and Federal Judge for the Western District of New York
  • Charles S. Desmond (Class of 1917), former Chief Judge of the New York Court of Appeals*
  • Walter J. Mahoney (Class of 1930), former Majority Leader of the New York State Senate and New York Supreme Court Judge*
  • Salvatore R. Martoche (Class of 1962), New York State Supreme Court Justice and former Assistant Secretary of the United States Treasury and Labor Departments
  • Denise O'Donnell (Class of 1968), former United States Attorney for the Western District of New York
  • William M. Skretny (Class of 1966), Federal Judge for the Western District of New York
  • Lawrence J. Vilardo (Class of 1977), Federal Judge for the Western District of New York
  • John J. LaFalce (Class of 1961), former United States Representative for New York
  • Richard D. McCarthy (Class of 1950), former United States Representative for New York*
  • Henry J. Nowak (Class of 1957), former United States Representative for New York
  • William Paxon (Class of 1977), former United States Representative for New York
  • Frank A. Sedita (Class of 1930), former Mayor of Buffalo, New York*
  • Anthony M. Masiello (Class of 1969), former Mayor of Buffalo, New York
  • James T. Molloy (Class of 1958), former Doorkeeper, United States House of Representatives*

In medicine and science, notable Canisius alumni include:

  • Donald Pinkel (Class of 1947), pediatric cancer researcher; former Director of the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

In sports, notable Canisius alumni include:

  • Martin Breen (Class of 1947), former center of the Buffalo Bills, Toronto Argonauts
  • Bob MacKinnon (Class of 1950), former NBA Head Coach and General Manager of the New Jersey Nets
  • Johnny McCarthy, member of the 1963-64 NBA Champion Boston Celtics
  • Gerry Meehan, former NHL player and General Manager of the Buffalo Sabres
  • Dick Poillon, member of the 1942 NFL Champion Washington Redskins and Pro Bowl selection
  • Michael Smrek (Class of 1985), member of the 1986–87 and 1987-88 NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers
  • Beth Phoenix, professional wrestler and ex-WWE Diva Champion
  • Matt Vinc, three-time NLL Champion 2012, 2013, 2014 for the Rochester Knighthawks
  • Cory Conacher, NHL player for the Tampa Bay Lightning, Ottawa Senators, Buffalo Sabres and New York Islanders

Honorary degree recipients include:

  • Steve Forbes (2006), American publishing executive[60]
  • Theodore Edgar McCarrick (2006), defrocked American bishop, former prelate and former cardinal of the Catholic Church[61]
  • Norma Nowak '79, PhD (2018), executive director of the University at Buffalo’s Center for Excellence in Bioinformatics & Life Sciences; member of the Empire State Stem Cell Board, a funding source for embryonic stem cell research[62][63]


  1. ^ "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2016 Market Value of Endow" (PDF). NACUBO. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-02-15. Retrieved 24 March 2017.
  2. ^ "2017-18 Common Data Set" (PDF). Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  3. ^ a b c "2017-18 Common Data Set" (PDF). Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  4. ^ "Canisius College Style Guide 2014". Retrieved August 18, 2017.
  5. ^ "The Official Web Site of Canisius College Athletics". Retrieved 2016-02-25.
  6. ^ "St. Michaels' RC Church". Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  7. ^ a b "ST. MICHAEL'S CHURCH, JESUITS' ORIGINAL BASE; IN AREA, TO MARK 150TH YEAR WITH MASS." Buffalo News (New York). (September 29, 2001 Saturday, FINAL EDITION ): 863 words. LexisNexis Academic. Web. Date Accessed: 2016/05/03.
  8. ^ "MASS TO MARK 125TH YEAR OF CANISIUS COLLEGE, HIGH." Buffalo News (New York). (September 16, 1994, Friday, City Edition ): 240 words. LexisNexis Academic. Web. Date Accessed: 2016/05/03.
  9. ^ "BRAND NEW OLD MAIN TO MAKE ITS DEBUT." Buffalo News (New York). (November 9, 2001 Friday, FINAL EDITION ): 390 words. LexisNexis Academic. Web. Date Accessed: 2016/05/03.
  10. ^ "Loss of Jesuit leadership could mark an ending." Buffalo News (New York). (November 1, 2009 Sunday ): 510 words. LexisNexis Academic. Web. Date Accessed: 2016/05/03.
  11. ^ "Animal Behavior Ecology and Conservation - Canisius College". Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  12. ^ "Creative Writing". Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  13. ^ "Journalism". Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  14. ^ "Canisius College Pre-Medical Program".
  15. ^ "Events". Archived from the original on September 14, 2009. Retrieved December 27, 2009.
  16. ^ [1] Archived July 19, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  17. ^ "Division 1 Sports".
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  19. ^ "Baseball History & Records - The Official Web Site of Canisius College Athletics". Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  20. ^ "Softball History & Records - The Official Web Site of Canisius College Athletics". Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  21. ^ "Battle of the Bridge - The Official Web Site of Canisius College Athletics". Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  22. ^ "THE NAME GAME; NICKNAMES FOR LOCAL TEAMS PASS THE TEST." Buffalo News (New York). (May 20, 1996, Monday, CITY EDITION ): 1397 words. LexisNexis Academic. Web. Date Accessed: 2016/05/03.
  23. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-08-06. Retrieved 2016-05-03.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
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  25. ^ "". Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  26. ^ *Miller, Jeffery (2002). Buffalo's Forgotten Champions. Xlibris Corp. ISBN 978-1413450057. Archived from the original on 2010-09-22. Retrieved 2009-11-10.[self-published source]
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  29. ^ a b
  30. ^
  31. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-08-07. Retrieved 2016-05-09.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  32. ^ "Canisius College Rankings and Distinctions". Canisius College.
  33. ^ "Canisius campaign seeks $90M". 2007-09-24. Retrieved 2016-02-25.
  34. ^ "Canisius buys Main Street site for $18.45M". 2008-11-20. Retrieved 2016-02-25.
  35. ^ [2] Archived June 19, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  36. ^ "Event-filled day gets passing grade". Retrieved 2013-02-06.
  37. ^ "The Wire - Canisius College Radio". Archived from the original on 10 April 2015. Retrieved 5 April 2015.
  38. ^ [3] Archived February 25, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  39. ^ a b Archived from the original on 2012-09-04. Retrieved 2015-11-05. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  40. ^ "Christ the King Chapel | Canisius College". Retrieved 2015-11-05.
  41. ^ "Canisius receives boost in funding for Science Hall." Buffalo News (New York). (June 7, 2008 Saturday ): 407 words. LexisNexis Academic. Web. Date Accessed: 2016/05/03.
  42. ^ "Canisius College president donates $250,000 toward Science Hall." The Buffalo News (New York). (December 17, 2014 Wednesday ): 359 words. LexisNexis Academic. Web. Date Accessed: 2016/05/03.
  43. ^ "Science Hall". Archived from the original on 2 December 2015. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  44. ^ The Griffin: volume 15, issue 04 - Nov. 7, 1947 pg. 5
  45. ^ The Griffin: volume 16, issue 04 - Nov. 5, 1948 pg. 5
  46. ^ "Canisius' purchase expands campus." Buffalo News (New York). (November 22, 2008 Saturday ): 329 words. LexisNexis Academic. Web. Date Accessed: 2016/05/03.
  47. ^ a b "Unloved, maybe, but standing tall; Canisius College Amherst 50 Delaware Ave. 200 Niagara St. Downtown Buffalo 701-705 Maple Road, Amherst 1425 Main St. 153 Franklin St. 1300 Elmwood Ave.." The Buffalo News (New York). (March 8, 2015 Sunday ): 1999 words. LexisNexis Academic. Web. Date Accessed: 2016/05/03.
  48. ^ "FRANCES G. CHURCHILL, PHILANTHROPIST, SUPPORTER OF ARTS; EDUCATION, DIES AT 82." Buffalo News (New York). (January 23, 1999, Saturday, FINAL EDITION ): 687 words. LexisNexis Academic. Web. Date Accessed: 2016/05/03.
  49. ^ "FATHER DEMSKE HONORED FOR SERVICE TO CANISIUS COLLEGE AT GRADUATION." Buffalo News (New York). (May 22, 1993, Saturday, Final Edition ): 734 words. LexisNexis Academic. Web. Date Accessed: 2016/05/03.
  50. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-08-06. Retrieved 2016-05-03.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  51. ^ "Who IS Andrew L. Bouwhuis, S. J.? - Andrew L. Bouwhuis Library". Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  52. ^ "About the Library". Canisius Andrew L. Bouwhuis Library. Archived from the original on November 13, 2015. Retrieved November 3, 2015.
  53. ^ "About the Library". Canisius Andrew L. Bouwhuis Library. Archived from the original on 2015-11-13. Retrieved 2015-11-04.
  54. ^ "JOHN W. KOESSLER JR. IS DEAD AT 69; TURNED GREATER BUFFALO; PRESS INTO INDUSTRY LEADER." Buffalo News (New York). (April 14, 1997, Monday, CITY EDITION ): 1118 words. LexisNexis Academic. Web. Date Accessed: 2016/05/03.
  55. ^ "Sports & Athletic Facilities". 29 April 2016. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  56. ^ "Public Safety | Campus Life | Canisius College". Retrieved 2016-02-25.
  57. ^ "Article 2 - Criminal Procedure Law - Peace Officers". Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  58. ^ "Article 2 - Criminal Procedure Law - Peace Officers". Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  59. ^ Pace, Eric (1994-06-17). "James Demske, 72, A Jesuit Priest Who Led Canisius College". The New York Times. Retrieved 2017-07-28.
  60. ^ "Steve Forbes, Cardinal McCarrick Address Class of 2006". Newswise. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  61. ^ "Steve Forbes, Cardinal McCarrick Address Class of 2006". Newswise. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  62. ^ "Commencement 2018". Canisius College. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  63. ^ Hendershott, Anne. "tember 4, 2018 Catholic College Leaders Who Are Part of the Problem". Crisis Magazine. Retrieved 20 February 2019.

External linksEdit