President Stoute’s Post-Inauguration Interview
Following Steve Stoute’s official inauguration on Saturday, October 22nd, President Stoute sat down with The Griffin for his first post-inauguration interview.
The interview covered a range of topics, from his feelings regarding the inauguration itself to the new perspective he has gained in his new role as Canisius president, as well as that which was gained from his journey to this point.
Looking at his inaugural weekend as a whole, Stoute said: “I could not have asked for a better weekend for myself, for my family, for the college or the community. I think it was exceptional all around.”
The theme of Stoute’s inaugural address was RISE: renewing Canisius’ commitment to justice, inspiring a new generation of leaders, serving everyone we encounter with love, and empowering others to do the same. “Starting from when I was announced as president on February 25th,” Stoute said, “I read as much as I could get my hands on about Canisius and Jesuit higher education, and not just our challenges and opportunities but about our mission, our identity, and who we are at the core… And what emerged is the idea that we need to rise to meet this moment… It’s not a tagline, it’s what I believe we are called to do in this moment.”
“I think from our place as a Catholic, Jesuit college, we should want that responsibility because of what we believe in forming leaders, which is service,” Stoute said later. “Leadership isn’t about the position, it’s about how you serve others.”
Looming over the ceremony was the shadow of the Tops shooting last spring, which was acknowledged multiple times during the ceremony. President Stoute talked about Canisius’ role in the community following the shooting. Referring to the seal of Canisius College, he pointed out how the seal has the words “Canisius College of Buffalo.” Stoute said “we are not in Buffalo, we are a part of the fabric of this community… As an institution, we have an obligation to rise and help our community to rise up from this trauma and be stronger than ever.”
Present at his inauguration were key figures in the Buffalo community, including mayor Byron Brown, congressman Chris Jacobs, and bishop Micahel Fisher among others. Stoute appreciated their attendance, saying: “I often say that nothing of significance is accomplished alone. We cannot do our work, we cannot be the best Canisius we can be without the support of our partners and collaborators.”
Also in the interview, Stoute reflected on his journey to becoming president of the college. He reiterated the paramount importance that his faith has had on his journey. Stoute also spoke about some of the adversity he faced on his journey. He said he has a “greater appreciation for the moments on my journey that didn’t work out quite as I may have hoped or expected. Because they all led to me being here. They all led to this moment, this opportunity to lead Canisius College.”
That lesson will come into play throughout his tenure as president, Stoute said, “what will come from it is an ability to see past the obstacle, to not get lost.”
The Griffin asked Stoute for his new perspective on the metaphorical mountaintop that is his inauguration, but Stoute refuted the notion that he was at the peak of the mountain. “We’re not at the top of the mountain,” he said, “we just have so much work to do, and I’m so excited. When I think about my presidency, we’re just getting started. And so I’m looking forward to making that climb together with the team and our faculty and staff, our loved ones and donors, all of our partners who care so deeply about Canisius.” Stoute concluded: “Come back in a few years and then we can talk about the view from higher up.”