Celebrating 90 years: A Griffin staff reunion
By Ava C. Green, Editor-in-Chief
On Sunday, April 29, The Griffin’s staff of past and present came together for a reunion: the group celebrated the upcoming Sept. 29 90th birthday of the newspaper and reconnected with the chance to compare and contrast their experiences with their time on the staff.
Canisius President Steve K. Stoute gave opening remarks and addressed the eager alumni who traveled near and far for the event. As always, Stoute emphasized the “attitude of gratitude” mindset he’s held with him through his self-termed freshman year of running the school. He expressed special gratitude for the camaraderie of the current staff, as well as the past staff’s commitment, ending the speech with, “Once a Griff, always a Griff.”
Former Managing Editor Patrick Healy presented a shortened version of his thesis, for which he researched the entire history of this very student newspaper — a fitting tribute to the alumni in and out of attendance. Healy summarized the development of the paper through its past influences and leadership as attendees were taken through history and clearly tickled to see their own names appear on the timeline.
After the presentation, the floor was opened to questions and comments: these real anecdotes are where the written history really came to life. Past editors confirmed Patrick’s research, discussing their struggles with the secularization of the institution and overall lack of control that they had over the things that they published. Former Opinion Editor Joel Palachuvattil recalled his frustrations with the lack of editorialization and student contributions. He laughed, “I just wanted to say to [students] ‘Speak out, dammit!’”
However, some things never change. Comments after the thesis also led to editors rediscovering the values that have run rampant through the paper’s existence. One of them being that the staff “becomes your family” said Daniel Hurley, editor-in-chief from 1974 to 1975. Since Hurley’s implementation of a week-to-week publishing schedule, staff has continued to work closely together each week to make the final product, growing closer as a team with each successful print. He went on to note how many different people with different skills it takes to do so, continuing, “We’ve always caught people from the fringes.”
Adam Zyglis, an editorial cartoonist for The Griffin 2001–2004, delivered a keynote address about his career, the Pulitzer Prize he received for editorial cartooning and how Canisius was “the place that moved [him] and changed [him].”
Zyglis himself was one of the people “caught from the fringes” as a computer science and math major who loved art and wanted to “cause trouble for the right reasons,” especially looking for an outlet after the tragic incidents of 9/11. Zyglis said The Griffin gave him a place to try new things outside of a classroom environment, and one where he never had to separate his art from his message.
Ms. Lori DuVall-Jackson was in attendance to represent her late son Eric DuVall and The Eric DuVall Memorial Fund. Eric was on the staff at the same time as Adam Zyglis and served as the News editor and managing editor. Ms. DuVall-Jackson was kind enough to gift the paper a generous donation on behalf of the fund and to deliver thoughtful words about her son.
After tears, hugs, thank-yous and a group photo, current and former editors alike made their way through the tunnels and into the office where, for years, staff has gathered on Thursday nights. They found the leaks and creaks endearing and nostalgic, as almost all recognized the office covered wall-to-wall in niche relics and silly insignias. The phrase “I can’t believe you guys still have this!” was heard plenty of times — sometimes in excitement, and sometimes in concern.
What most people in attendance seemed to take away was that The Griffin is a reflection of the staff that writes it. Not only their work but also their personalities and their talents, so a different staff means a different paper. Members of past and present came together that Sunday to show that The Griffin will always be consistent in keeping up a tradition of togetherness and tenacity.