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  • Sydney Umstead, Asst. News Editor

End of a Century, Canisius University begins

By: Sydney Umstead, News Editor

On Aug. 1, Canisius College officially changed their name to Canisius University after 153 years with the former name. This provides an opportunity for the campus community to turn the page in hopes of fostering a new future for Canisius.

President of Canisius University Steve Stoute sat down with The Griffin to discuss what the transition to university means for Canisius, and how the change will “align around what we aspire to be,” explained Stoute. He continued by stating that the goal is to be “a comprehensive national and international university.”

While university status was granted to Canisius College in the spring of 2023, the decision to not immediately proclaim the new name follows administration wanting to focus on the 2023 graduating students, and also “to generate energy and excitement for our students and our student body as we start a new academic year,” said Stoute.

Stoute stated that the transition in part allows for “an opportunity to rearticulate who we are as an institution.” The change challenges and offers new ideas towards people’s former notions about Canisius.

Stoute expressed, “That’s the way we think about Canisius University — as an entree, a door to open and introduce people to who we are and why that is relevant at this critical juncture in our country's life more so than the institution.”

On the topic of what the name change means for students, Stoute noted that the benefits of it will “expand the breadth and reach of the institution.” It also coincides with the strategic plan drafted by the Strategic Planning Committee last year with the goal of improving the school. The plan will be implemented in a way that “builds on the fact that we are Canisius University.”

Stoute addressed the new plan and remarked, “We’re looking forward to unveiling the new strategic plan, answer the call over the coming weeks when our students get back so that we will be able to have a more robust dialogue and discussion about why these pillars, why these priorities are critically important to our successes as Canisius University.”

Stoute spoke about the emphasis on educational opportunities at the university that are “broad, academic programs that are diverse in the sense that they’re both excellent at the undergraduate level, but also at the graduate level, a student body that is diverse in geography.”

When discussing how the university status will impact students looking at Canisius, Stoute said that the changes are “two-fold.” The name university helps in putting Canisius on the map when international students are looking to apply to different institutions throughout the United States. Stoute explained that in recruiting transfer students from Commonwealth countries, the word college for them means preparatory school. Stoute, who is from Trinidad and Tobago, a former Commonwealth country, added, “I went to two colleges in my high school … So college means something very different to those students.”

Stoute further explained, “We need to be able to compete in the marketplace for those students, and they understand tertiary education as a university.” There is also an at-home advantage with the name change. It helps administrators outreach to students from “far-flung states and regions who don’t know Canisius because it signifies an institution that has broader scope and more depth to it,” said Stoute.

“We will also be more diverse in where our students come from, and what they’re able to study, and we’ll do that while maintaining at our core what we believe is incredibly valuable.” The president continued by saying that the valuable component “is the personal connection that our students develop with this place, with each other, with our faculty and staff because of our size.”

Stoute stated that since the school has now been granted university status due to its academic programs, the question has become: “How do we leverage our centers of excellence?” He continued by addressing that it is thinking about those areas in the “context of a more diverse academic portfolio.”

Canisius University has also developed a new logo that was teased on Canisius’s Instagram account. Both the team led by Dr. Danielle Ianni of enrollment management and marketing, and Lead Designer Patty Herkey worked towards preparing and creating the logo. Stoute stated the process included gathering data and “ engag[ing] with our constituents in asking critical questions about what is our identity.”

The university is in process of changing the signage to reclaim the institution as Canisius University. Stoute stated that the “most visible elements have already changed,” such as the banners along Science Hall. The light poles in the quad will also feature the name Canisius University in the upcoming weeks. Canisius has launched new university apparel as of Aug. 3.

“Higher education is a public good: We do it for the good of our society, so as our society needs change, so must we — and universities do that exceptionally well,” said Stoute.

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