September 4, 2020
Members of the community are invited to join Canisius 2070 on Saturday, September 5, at 3pm on the lawn outside Canisius College's Science Hall between Main St. and Jefferson Avenue, for a brief gathering commemorating the college's sesquicentennial.
Canisius College was founded on September 5, 1870, under the auspices of the German Jesuit mission to the region, and welcomed a class that grew from an initial 25 young men enrolled to 34: half in the "Classical Course" and half in the "Commercial Course." This inaugural class marked the beginnings of Canisius College's identity as an institution deeply rooted in the liberal arts and the Jesuit intellectual tradition yet tightly bound to the business community of Western New York.
Today, as the college prepares to mark its 150th year in operation, this identity and tradition are in jeopardy.
Members of Canisius 2070 will offer concise remarks honoring the tradition of the college and noting the causes of its current crisis. Alumni, current and former faculty and staff, and friends of the college will speak to the importance of the values of shared governance, and members of the Canisius 2070 Facilitation Committee will outline next steps that the group will take to aid and advise the college as it charts a new path forward past the present challenges.
The event will conclude before 4pm.
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org
Members of the media may direct inquiries to Aidan Ryan at email@example.com.
September 3, 2020
Open Letter to Members of the Canisius Community
We write to you as a corps of alumni, current and former faculty and staff, and concerned members of the family of Canisius College whose aim is to use our experience, expertise, and love for Canisius to assist the College in navigating its current crisis. We recognize that no single factor brought Canisius to the present crisis. COVID-19 has exposed, rather than caused the College's dire financial situation, as well as the damage done by a decade of missteps, failure to address long-term trends in enrollment and retention, and a slow drift away from the College's historic mission and vision. However, we are choosing, in a spirit of faith, to view the present crisis as an opportunity for renewal.
In the Jesuit tradition, to retreat does not mean to give up ground, but rather to turn within to find the best way forward. In that tradition, we aim to meet this challenge by "retreating forward"—turning within to reconnect with our mission and identity as a college and as a spiritual community. Our aim is to harness the collective power, wisdom, and diverse perspectives of the entire Canisius community, and together we will find the best path forward. There will be difficult decisions in the months ahead, but beyond them await another 150 years of excellence and leadership in the region and in the world.
Several members of the Canisius community who have committed to this mission held an organizational meeting on Monday, August 10, 2020, to discuss how best to help the College navigate the current crisis. The group was comprised of those who had volunteered to help with this initial stage (including two recent faculty members, a current student, a current and a former member of the Board of Regents, recent alumni, and older alumni). This group will continue to function as the Steering Committee on behalf of the broader effort to coordinate communications and assignments while additional working groups are established. To avoid confusion with the Movement to Restore Trust related to the Diocese of Buffalo, with which Canisius President John Hurley and several members of the Canisius Board of Trustees have been involved, and to portray more accurately the long-term goals of our group, we will now refer to the effort simply as Canisius 2070.
The group also reaffirmed its mission of engaging in a respectful and mutually transparent manner with the Canisius College Board of Trustees, senior administration, and faculty to solve the challenges facing this community. Our focus will be on process rather than individuals, and on sustainable positive outcomes rather than retributive short-term responses to the current crisis and its causes.
The Steering Committee agreed to organize future discussions in the following areas:
Organization and Governance
Curriculum and Instruction
Marketing and Communication
Finance and Budget
In the spirit of transparency, all group meetings will require accurate minutes to be shared publicly (without attribution) with best efforts to post within 48 hours.
The Steering Committee will coordinate with volunteers for the working groups to set and communicate dates for initial working group meetings no later than September 10, 2020.
We ask anyone interested in this effort to do two things:
*Go to canisius2070.org and indicate any working groups in which you are interested in participating.
*Refer any contacts you have to canisius2070.org and ask them, if they are willing, to join the effort and one or more of the working groups.