Canisius College
Latin: Collegium Canisii
TypePrivate college
Established1870 (1870)
Religious affiliation
Roman Catholic (Jesuit)
Academic affiliations
Endowment$124.5 million (2019)[1]
PresidentJohn J. Hurley
Academic staff
Total: 368
(174 full-time/194 part-time)[2]
Location, ,
United States
CampusUrban, 72 acres (29.1 ha)
Colors   Blue & gold[4]
NicknameGolden Griffins / Lady Griffins
Sporting affiliations
NCAA Division I - MAAC AH
MascotPetey the Griffin
The campus
The campus
The campus
The campus

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 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.[5][6] Rev. Lucas Caveng, a German Jesuit, along with 19 families from St. Louis Church, founded St. Michael's Church on Washington St.[6] 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.[7] In 1913 construction of the Old Main building at 2001 Main St. was completed.[8] The early presidents of the college were German Jesuits.[9]


Christ the King Chapel

Christ the King Chapel, designed by Buffalo architect Duane Lyman,[10] is centrally located to "symbolize its importance".[11] It was completed in 1951 and has seating for 492.[10]

Science Hall

Science Hall was built as a Sears and Roebuck store in 1929.[12] The college has allocated $68 million for its renovation, over $35 million of which has been raised[13] with help from the John R. Oishei Foundation.[14]

Science Hall Parking Ramp

Public Safety Booth
Public Safety Booth
Carpool section of ramp
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.[15][16] Acquisition of the property has eliminated parking problems.[17]

Churchill Academic Tower

The 11-story Churchill Academic Tower was built in 1971, designed by Leroy H. Welch.[18] It is named for its chief benefactor, Rev. Clinton H. Churchill and his wife Francis.[19] The Tower is routinely derided but serves as a highly functional space.[18]

Andrew L. Bouwhuis Library

Built in 1957 and upgraded in 1988[20] and from 2013 through 2015,[21] Andrew L. Bouwhuis Library, named for Andrew L. Bouwhuis, S.J., college librarian from 1935 to 1955, furnishes extensive area for study and research.[22] It seats 500 people[23] 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,[24] along with private study rooms accommodating one to eight people.

The Koessler Athletic Center

Koessler Athletic Center
Koessler Athletic Center

Located at 1833 Main Street in Buffalo, the Koessler Athletic Center (KAC) is named after J. Walter Koessler, class of 1922.[25] The facility has a swimming pool, two weight rooms, two gymnasiums, and locker rooms and offices for athletic coaches and support staff.[26]


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.[27] Other new majors include Creative Writing,[28] Health and Wellness, and Journalism.[29] With the George E. Schreiner '43, MD, Pre-Medical Center as an asset,[30] 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).

During the COVID-19 pandemic in July 2020, President John Hurley and the board of trustees made a decision to lay off a number of tenured faculty, including Classics, Chemistry, English, History, Management, Religious Studies, and Philosophy. Several majors were eliminated, including Classics, Entrepreneurship, European studies, Fine Arts, Human Services, International Business, Physics, Religious Studies, and Urban Studies.[31][32] Some college faculty, students and members of the community have contested the decision, including two formal votes of no confidence by the college's faculty senate.[33][34][35] The move also attracted criticism from numerous academic organizations, including the American Historical Association (AHA) and the Association for Slavic, East European and Eurasian Studies (ASEEES).[36][37] After an almost yearlong investigation, the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) released a report on eight institutions (Canisius College, Illinois Wesleyan University, Keuka College, Marian University, Medaille College, National University, University of Akron, Wittenberg University) that found that "some institutional leaders seem to have taken the COVID-19 crisis as an opportunity to turbocharge the corporate model that has been spreading in higher education over the past few decades, allowing them to close programs and lay off faculty members as expeditiously as if colleges and universities were businesses whose CEOs suddenly decided to stop making widgets or shut down the steelworks".[38][39] The AAUP recommended that Canisius College be added to its list of sanctioned institutions due to "substantial noncompliance with standards of academic government".[40] Several affected tenured faculty members also sued the college for violation of contract.[41] The full impact of these decisions on the future of Canisius College remains uncertain.


Canisius earned the 21st spot in the top tier of U.S. News & World Report's 2022 rankings of America's Best Regional Universities – North.[42] U.S. News also ranked Canisius thirteenth in the 2016 "Great Schools, Great Prices" listing among regional universities in the North.[43] Canisius earned the eighth spot among 49 regional universities in the North in U.S. News' Best Colleges for Veterans Ranking, as well as #4 in Best Value Schools and #26 in Top Performers on Social Mobility, for 2022.[42] 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.[44]

Student life

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").[45][46] 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.


Main article: Canisius Golden Griffins

See also: Canisius Golden Griffins men's basketball and Canisius Golden Griffins men's ice hockey

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.[47] 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.[48]

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.[49] 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.[50] In its rivalry with Niagara University Canisius won the Canal Cup two of the first three years (2008 and 2009).[51] 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.[52][53][54][55] 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.[citation needed]

In 2015 Canisius College was one of more than 90 colleges investigated by the Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights for its handling of sexual assault and harassment complaints.[56] In 2021, three former female student athletes filed a federal lawsuit in the Western District of New York alleging a hostile environment and that the college "failed to take appropriate action in response to these reports and complaints of sexual harassment, abuse and sexual assault".[57][58]

Greek life

Canisius College's fraternities and sororities are overseen by the Canisius College Office of Student Life. 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).[59] 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.[60]


The student weekly newspaper is The Griffin, which replaced The Canisian in 1933 and went online in 2013.[61][62] 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.[63] The Courier is a magazine-style opinion-orientated publication, begun in 2006. It allows students to freely express their opinions, however controversial.[64]


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.

Public safety

Canisius College Public Safety[65] Officers are sworn Peace Officers pursuant to New York State Criminal Procedure Law section 2.10-72[66] and perform many of the same duties as any traditional Police Department. Each Officer receives law enforcement training which meets or exceeds the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services requirements for Peace Officers and they are authorized to carry firearms. Officers are authorized to enforce all Federal, State, and Local laws, as well as the rules and regulations of the college, and they do make arrests. Officers also perform a wide range of other duties which include: vehicular and foot patrol, criminal investigation, dispatch, welfare checks, first-aid and CPR, motorist assistance, and escorts.

Notable alumni

Main article: List of Canisius College people

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



Journalism and television

Government and law

Medicine and science



See also


  1. ^[bare URL PDF]
  2. ^ "2017-18 Common Data Set" (PDF). Retrieved July 9, 2018.
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Coordinates: 42°55′31″N 78°51′10″W / 42.92528°N 78.85278°W / 42.92528; -78.85278