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Congratulations to the 2023 inductees! 

Distinguished Alumni Hall of Honor

Dr. John M. Canty ’72 – Medicine
Hon. John M. Curran ’77 – Law
Mr. Walter L. Rooth ’60 – Law/Civic Leadership
Dr. Eric F. Spina ’79 – Education

John F. Barnes Award
Thomas H. Weislo – Volleyball

Athletic Hall of FameJames E. Bujalski ’84 – Tennis
Ryan Dinunzio ’98 – Soccer, Football
Jordan J. Hamm ’09 – Cross Country, Track & Field
Kyle P. Husband ’96 – Basketball
Karl S. McKinnie ’77 – Track & Field
Joseph L. Ogiony ’73 – Swimming
Dale R. Podlas ’87 – Baseball, Football, Basketball

Twelve stellar examples of the ideals to which all Canisius High School alumni strive were honored Nov. 18 at our 2023 Alumni Awards induction ceremony in Scaccia Auditorium. 

The Alumni Awards honor extraordinary people from the Canisius community whose pursuit of excellence personally, professionally and on the field of play embody the Jesuit ideal of “men and women for others.”

This year’s inductees:

Distinguished Alumni Hall of Honor

(left to right)
Dr. Eric F. Spina ’79 – Education
Hon. John M. Curran ’77 – Law
Dr. John M. Canty ’72 – Medicine
Mr. Walter L. Rooth ’60 – Law/Civic Leadership

Athletic Hall of Fame – John F. Barnes Award

Thomas H. Weislo – Volleyball

Athletic Hall of Fame

(left to right)
Jordan J. Hamm ’09 – Cross Country, Track & Field
Thomas H. Weislo – Volleyball (John F. Barnes Award) 
Kyle P. Husband ’96 – Basketball
Joseph L. Ogiony ’73 – Swimming
James E. Bujalski ’84 – Tennis
Ryan Dinunzio ’98 – Soccer, Football
Dale R. Podlas ’87 – Baseball, Football, Basketball
Karl S. McKinnie ’77 – Track & Field

Inductees gathered in our Higgins Hall foyer prior to the ceremony in Scaccia Auditorium; afterwards, celebrants enjoyed lunch in Bernard J. Kennedy '49 Field House.


Distinguished Alumni Hall of Honor

The Distinguished Alumni Hall of Honor was established to permanently recognize graduates of Canisius High School who have distinguished themselves in their careers or in their activities in a manner which exemplifies the highest ideals to which Canisius is dedicated.

These gentlemen have brought lasting recognition to themselves and to their alma mater. Enshrinement in the Hall of Honor is the highest recognition that Canisius can bestow on its alumni.

Information on the inductees as well as excerpts from their remarks at the induction ceremony: 

Dr. John M. Canty ’72 – Medicine

A cardiologist by trade, the SUNY Distinguished Professor of Medicine currently serves as the Director of the Center for Research in Cardiovascular Medicine at the University at Buffalo’s Jacobs School of Medicine. Dr. Canty is also a professor of Biomedical Engineering at UB and is on staff at the Buffalo VA Medical Center. His clinical areas of expertise are in diagnosing and caring for patients with coronary artery disease and heart failure. A UB Distinguished Alumni, his work as a research scientist has been published over 150 times.

Canty's excerpted remarks: 

"As I look back in time, I’m overwhelmed by the importance that Canisius played in my professional and personal life and how so much would be different if I had not had the opportunity to follow that path. 

"It started out with a call from my Aunt Ann the night before the entrance exam which was around this time in November 1967.

"As I look back, I am increasingly amazed by the fact that some of the most important events in my personal and professional life may not have transpired without that last-minute Friday night call. 

"In fact, if I didn’t go to Canisius and raise up enough courage to ask a Nardin girl and my future wife Ann Woodward to the senior prom, our six children, four children-in-law and 11 grandchildren would not have made it to the Ceremony today! Like George Bailey in 'It’s A Wonderful Life,' I often think about what life would have been like if my aunt didn’t call.

While the academic excellence at Canisius is indisputable, it’s the intangible life lessons that have left an indelible mark on me. I encapsulate these into what I call the four F’s:

The first F is for the importance of faith throughout life’s journey or, as the Jesuits say “ad maiorem dei gloriam”, that is “living and learning for the greater glory of God and the common good." This has been central to my work in patient care, research and teaching as an academic cardiologist at the University at Buffalo. 

"The second F is for the characteristic fortitude. My first Latin teacher was a scholastic, Mr. Toma, and I remember him telling us daily “Vita est dura gentleman” or “life is tough.”  While life is also good, there can be hurdles. 

"The third F is for friendship. Canisius taught me the importance of sustaining friendship throughout life. I also always look forward to reconnecting with my classmates at reunions where it’s like we are all in high school again. It continues to amaze me as to how people don’t change 50 years after graduation, which I think underscores the importance that those formative years in high school at Canisius had on our persona.    

"The final F is for family. These are the people whose unconditional love and support is essential for achieving a full life and successful career.  

"Thank you all for this tremendous honor. I am profoundly appreciative."


Hon. John M. Curran ’77 – Law

Judge Curran began his legal career as a commercial litigation attorney before being appointed the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of New York. He served as the Orchard Park Town Justice. In 2004, he was elected to the New York State Supreme Court. In 2016, he was appointed to the Fourth Appellate Division. He has served on the Orchard Park Town Board, the Canisius High School Board of Trustees and is a UB Law School Distinguished Alumni.

Curran's excerpted remarks: 

"Thank you to the the Board and Fr. Ciancimino for this high honor. I am so very grateful for it.

"It is no secret that I was not one of our most academically talented students. But I had the great good fortune to be among thoughtful people. I had thoughtful teachers who cared about whether you learned and what you thought. I also had thoughtful classmates and friends who were willing to talk about what we were learning and debate the issues of the day. We also, of course, had tons of fun together. But looking back, I was a sponge and was fortunate to absorb from the thoughtful people all around me.   

"I learned how to learn here. I wrote a lot; being on the Citadel was invaluable to me in learning to become a better writer. I read widely and learned to love to read. I learned to have curiosity about what I was learning and to delve deeper into the subjects I read and wrote about. Man, what a great way to launch the career of a lawyer and judge! I just didn’t know it at the time, but what happened here launched a lifelong desire to learn. 

"On my desk at my office, I keep this shiny little Christmas tree ornament that looks like a present to remind me of what a gift I have been given to be able to serve as judge. It also reminds me of the gift I was given by going to Canisius High School. I have been, and always will be, extremely grateful that I went to high school here. Thank you!"    


Mr. Walter L. Rooth ’60 – Law/Civic Leadership

As a lawyer, Rooth began his career as the Hamburg Town Attorney before being elected Hamburg Town Judge where he served the citizens of Hamburg for 35 years. During his tenure he oversaw the implementation of a Court Domestic Violence Counselor and Alcohol Counselor. He created a Scared Straight Program and counseling and community service programs for Hamburg youth. Outside of the courtroom, his work as a youth baseball coach and executive earned him the Town Service to Youth Award.

Rooth's excerpted remarks: 

"I want to thank Father Ciancimino and the Board of Trustees at Canisius High School for this exceptional honor.

"Fr. Ciancimino was the principal when my sons Terry and David were here. He was a big help to both my boys and helped them to be successful in their life. He has also helped my grandson who is a sophomore at Canisius. Fr. Ciancimino has been the moving force that makes Canisius so successful today.

"The Jesuits and Canisius taught me how to think and work – two qualities I still use today. The content of what I learned at Canisius may have faded, but what I learned has shaped me into what I am today.

"I tell my children and grandchildren that the smartest people are not always the most successful. What is important is that Canisius taught me how to learn." 


Dr. Eric F. Spina ’79 – Education

Spina, the President of Dayton University, began his career as a mechanical and aerospace engineer working on grants from The National Science Foundation, NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency. Spina’s administrative experience includes Syracuse University Dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science as well as Vice Chancellor and Provost of SU. Under his guidance, Dayton has set records for size, academic quality and racial and socioeconomic diversity. He holds two U.S. Patents and his work has been honored by NASA and the National Science Foundation.

Spina's excerpted remarks:  

"My parents lived their entire lives in Buffalo, New York, and they believed not only in Catholic education, not only in Jesuit education, but in the power and the excellence of Canisius High School education.

"At Canisius, I had teachers who both cared for me as a person and demanded that I make the most of my gifts and my privilege. 

"Beyond the teachers, there were my extraordinary classmates. Day-to-day we did what teenagers do, only to some of which I will admit! But over the course of 4 years, their values, their care for others, and their commitment to do things that matter all had an impact on me.

"One of the very meaningful side benefits of this honor is that my wife and one of my children have a chance to come to my Canisius High School. My wife, Karen, daughter, Kaitlyn, and son, Emery – who could not be here today – are my sun, my moon, and my stars. They have believed in me, supported me, loved me, and given me the strength and opportunity to do meaningful work in my life.

"Blessed beyond belief. Born into a family for the ages. Attended a world-class high school whose teachers and students helped me understand that I could succeed in ways that make a difference. Married an incredible woman who has given me an extraordinary family. And now, in the last decade of my career, I have had the opportunity to be a servant leader at a very special Catholic university where we prepare students to contribute to the common good. 

"Blessed beyond belief, and, today, very, very proud to receive this honor from Canisius High School."

* * * 

Athletic Hall of Fame – John F. Barnes Award

The 2023 recipient of the John F. Barnes Award is Thomas H. Weislo, architect of the Crusaders' championship volleyball program. The Barnes Award, named for the dedicated 42-year coach and faculty member, recognizes alumni or other members of the CHS community for outstanding contributions to Canisius High School athletics.

Thomas H. Weislo – Volleyball

A foundational member of the Crusader volleyball program, Weislo has been a part of 24 Monsignor Martin Athletic Association championships during his 27 years with the program, including the team's current 22-year title streak.

As the varsity head coach, Weislo won 15 consecutive MMAA Championships and 17 total. His 2016 and 2020 teams went undefeated with his 2016 team posting a 34-0 record and boasting two players ranked in the USA Volleyball Top 50.

Weislo has coached countless all-Catholic and All-Western New York players during his tenure and his tireless efforts have built Crusader volleyball into one of the best and most successful programs in Western New York.

Weislo is currently the Director of Admission and the Director of Volleyball Operations.

Weislo's reflection: 

I’m grateful for the love, support, patience and understanding of my wife of 30 years, Pam. Innumerable hours at practices, weekday matches and weekend tournaments. Travel all across the region, state, and country. If she’s not on board, none of this happens.

I’m beyond grateful for the opportunity to coach my sons, Ethan and Noah. Sharing time in the car going to school, being on the sideline with them at matches and then the drive home (with them usually asleep) is priceless. Being able to spend this time with my sons and having them be part of the program is the single most impactful and meaningful aspect of my entire coaching career. Period.

Volleyball tends to attract really great kids. I’ve been blessed to work with so many consistently amazing young men over the years. While every year brought a unique set of challenges and personalities, I can’t imagine a better group of people than the student-athletes who have been part of the volleyball program. They have displayed excellence in the classroom, on the court, and in the community. They have also shown a level of dedication over the years that’s hard to match. It’s particularly gratifying to see them turn into wonderful and successful men as well! A coach can’t ask for much more than that.

I’ve also been privileged to have so many superb and talented coaches as colleagues in the program. Former players who now comprise my CHS “coaching tree” have added so much to the program and taught me so much. It has been truly gratifying to see them interacting with our student-athletes and doing such amazing work. Their energy and enthusiasm are contagious, as is their love for the athletes, the program and their school. They care! It’s also a blessing to have been able to share the court and the bench (and talk about volleyball and food) with another CHS dad – thank you Coach Gooch!

Finally, I’m grateful to Canisius High School for letting me come on board so many years ago. We built something that has been regarded by many as the best program, top to bottom, in Western New York, and one that is known and respected by schools across the state and around the country. College coaches know our program and our players as well. We’ve sustained excellence over time. That couldn’t happen without the support of the school administration and athletic department. From trips to tournaments to off-season training, Canisius has been on board and supportive from day one. Not all programs are as fortunate, and for that I can’t thank CHS enough!

* * * 

Athletic Hall of Fame

The Athletic Hall of Fame honors individuals who achieved excellence in their scholastic athletic careers at Canisius. These individuals have been measured not only by their achievements, but by their sportsmanship, character, and leadership. Inductees must meet the following criteria:

  • Must be an alumnus who graduated at least 10 years prior to nomination
  • Only achievements during nominee's Canisius High School career will be considered
  • Nominee should be recognized not only by Canisius, but within his respective league and geographic area, i.e. All-Catholic, All-WNY, etc.
  • Nominees cannot nominate themselves

James E. Bujalski ’84 – Tennis

Bujalski's outstanding CHS career began with him capturing his first All-Catholic title as a freshman. As a senior, the team captain and WKBW-TV Super 7 Athlete of the Week won the All-Catholic title in both singles and doubles.

Bujalski's reflection: 

I want to thank my mom and dad for all the support they gave me through the years.

All the time spent driving me to tennis lessons at Delaware Park, the Buffalo Tennis Center, Twin Cities Racquet Club, Tennis Unlimited and sending me to the training ground of championship tennis players at Harry Hopman’s International Tennis in Largo, Florida.

Also, an extra special thanks to my father for driving me to Rochester to try to find the rare FILA tennis shirt which was necessary for improving my game.

Lastly, I would like to thank my teammates for four fantastic years of epic battles against Nichols and St. Joe’s. Thank you, Coach Damien Courtin and teammates Chris Jacobs, Paul Favorito, Mark Hayes and Tim Burke (may you rest in peace).


Ryan Dinunzio ’98 – Soccer

One of the best soccer players in the history of CHS, Dinunzio was a four-year member of the varsity team and a three-year captain. He earned All-Catholic honors in 1995, 1996 and 1997. The 1997 Monsignor Martin Athletic Association Player of the Year and All-Western New York selection set school records for career goals and assists.

Dinunzio's reflection:

Thank you to Canisius High School, Fr. C, the Board of Trustees and the Alumni Association for this wonderful honor. I am blessed and privileged to call myself an alumnus of such a fine institution. My four years as a Crusader made a major impact on my development as a young man both academically and athletically. The consistent and daily Pursuit of Excellence has driven me in the classroom, the soccer field and professional world. By becoming a Crusader and having the opportunity to compete at the varsity level in both soccer and football, along with playing freshmen and JV basketball, I was immersed into an environment that gave me no choice but to be shaped into a man for others. Thank you.

The opportunity to attend Canisius and receive a Jesuit education would not have been possible without the generosity of so many others; my four-year experience and this honor is greatly credited to the financial scholarship I received through the Ignatian Scholars. The community of giving that supports Canisius is pivotal to every student’s journey.

Thank you EJ Flammer ’90 for the nomination.

Thank you to my teammates and coaches; especially Keith Kostrzewski and Dathan Hartl for showing me the ropes when I was a freshman. Thank you to my classmates Nathan DeLuke, Sean Pidgeon, Brendan Rich, Matt Haslinger and Tim Loehfelm for allowing me to be me. From our overnight trip in Erie and dousing Coach Dobbins in the middle of the night with and ice bucket to our many spaghetti dinners before games against that other school, we built a foundation of memories and moments that stick with me and I have been blessed to share with my two sons. Three Monsignor Martin Finals in four-years is pretty good; we just could never get past that final hurdle. It was a pleasure competing alongside each of you, riding in our cars to training at Rumsey Road or Lasalle Park or finding ways to share our lockers so one could be for our bags and the other for our books.

To my wife Jackie, thank you for your quiet confidence, support, and understanding of my deeply-rooted love for the Blue and Gold.

Declan and Beckham, it has been amazing to watch you both these last two years begin your relationship with the school through Coach Roberts and the school’s Best. Summer. Ever. Soccer Camp – it really brings me joy to see how invested and proud of Canisius each of you are.

Lastly, to my parents, thank you. None of this is possible without you. The foresight to explore the opportunity of attending Canisius; the support to push me to be my best; and the love that bred confidence within me - thank you. What you sacrificed, personally and financially, for me to walk through the Blue Doors as a student is beyond measure and appreciated more than you know. I am forever indebted to you. Thank you for opening our house to welcome my teammates and coaches and hosting all of those spaghetti dinners – you elevated everyone’s experience on the team! Truly thank you. I am honored and proud to be a member of the Athletic Hall of Fame, but I am more proud to be your son.

Thank you Canisius.
Thank you Father C.
Thank you fellow Alums and Classmates.
Thank you Jackie, Dex and Becks. I love you guys. Thank you Mom and Dad.

Pursue Excellence, Nothing Else is Worth Your Time. With a grateful and humble heart, thank you.


Jordan J. Hamm ’09 – Cross Country, Track & Field

Hamm was a two-time All-Catholic track honoree and three-time All-Catholic Cross Country honoree. Hamm also was an All-WNY Cross Country selection as a senior. He holds Catholic state titles in both indoor and outdoor Track and won a New York State Federation title in indoor track. He holds school records in both the indoor and outdoor 1,600 meters and as a member of the indoor 4x800 relay team. 

Hamm's reflection: 

I am equally humbled and honored to join the incredible gentlemen that have come before me in this Athletic Hall of Fame. They set the bar for future generations and I’m proud to be a part of that history.

First and foremost, I would like to thank my family. To my parents, who provided me with love and support to chase my dreams. To Ben, who set the standard for success and taught me to challenge myself. To Joelle, who always kept it real and taught me how to be a good friend. To Greg, who was my ultimate competitor from day one and taught me the value of hard work. To Kelsey, who was wise beyond her years and inspired me to be confident. You all provided so much for me and have always been on my team.

It is without a doubt in my mind, that I would not have had the success that I did without the guidance of my coaches. Thank you, Brian Lombardo and Brian Tollar. It was from day one that Coach Lombardo recognized my potential and painted a picture of what I could do during my four years at Canisius High School. Those years were filled with countless miles and hours of setting and attaining goals. But it wasn’t just the running that made it special, it was the vision by Coach Lombardo and Tollar to take a solo, individual sport and make it an all-in team sport. The 2007 track & field team was one of my favorites as we won our first All-Catholic team title in years. That team set a precedent for success and allowed me to grow into a leader on and off the track.

While running is an individual effort, it was my teammates throughout those four years that made it special. The hours spent together training and traveling for races are some of my most cherished memories. From my first team trip to the Dartmouth Relays in 2006 to the last team trip to NYC for Catholic States in 2009, I formed so many bonds and friendships. I’m lucky to consider some of them my best friends today. To all my friends and teammates, thank you.

There are so many within the Canisius High School community that contributed to my success on and off the track, but I must acknowledge and thank two mentors of mine – Paul Cumbo and Adam Baber. You both helped me understand what it meant to be a good person, how to serve your community, and when to speak up for others. Thank you for being a guiding light when I needed it most.

Lastly, I cannot emphasize enough what the sport of running has done for me. It has given me everything. It gave me direction and purpose. A passion to pursue. It introduced me to my beautiful wife. It has given me good health. It has allowed me to have a career working with the world’s best runners. It has taken me places far and near. It has taught me how to visualize and problem solve. I know for a fact that I would not be where I am today without the foundation that was laid at Canisius High School. Thank you for the opportunity and support to chase my dreams – I will always bleed blue & gold.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.


Kyle P. Husband ’96 – Basketball

Husband turned the Crusader backcourt into the Monsignor Martin Athletic Association's deadliest after transferring prior to his junior year. The all-around standout's team-leading 16 ppg as a senior paced a hot-shooting CHS squad to a Manhattan Cup and Class C Catholic State Championship. Husband was a two-time All-Catholic selection as a Crusader and is a career 1,000-point scorer with 1,016. As the current varsity coach, Husband leads all MMAA coaches with 10 Manhattan Cups and is second on the all-time Western New York victories list.

Husband's reflection: 

I have been part of Canisius basketball for almost 30 years now, and to have this great honor means the world to me. Both Canisius High School and the game of basketball have been such a huge part of my life and I am incredibly humbled and thankful. I would like to thank the Hall of Fame Committee and Fr. Ciancimino for the incredible honor.

First and foremost, I would like to thank my mom and dad. My mom who has always been by my side and supported me no matter what and has always been my biggest fan whether I was playing or now coaching. Her unparalleled support and love have always been my biggest rock. My dad, who is no longer with us, would have enjoyed this more than anyone. He was my first coach and pushed me harder than anyone to be my best. I will always appreciate them for their love, support, and sacrifice.

To some of the best coaches I could imagine, who have molded me into the player I was and the coach that I am – thank you. Dennis Schunk and Sean Roberts, your dedication to me and the work ethic you demonstrated will always be remembered. The summer mornings and late nights of work outs were really something and showed me what it took to be great. To my head coach, mentor, and friend who meant so much to me; a huge thank you to Tom Keenan. Tom, who passed too early, meant so much to so many of us who played for him. He is still truly missed, and I can honestly say I would not be here if it weren’t for him.

I have been part of many teams but that 1996 team was special. We were such good friends and had a blast together on the court and off. No one thought we could win, but we did; we won our first Manhattan Cup championship in over a decade and a Catholic state championship. I want to say thank you to my teammates from that team, so many with whom I am still friends today.

Canisius High School was a special place for me like it was for so many others. Basketball was my life then and is still such a huge part of my life today. I am honored for the many memories it gave me as a player but also for the memories it has afforded me the last 20+ years as a coach. I continue to try and form those memories and the hard life lessons that I learned many years ago being a student athlete at Canisius with the young men on the court today. I just hope my three sons get the same opportunity I did, not only to play basketball but to play basketball at this great institution, Canisius High School. Canisius and basketball have been the foundation of so many lessons that carry on for me today - drive, motivation, hard work, responsibility, teamwork, trust, and love. I am forever grateful for the many years at Canisius High School and to be part of the basketball program. There have been so many memories, successes, failures, and lessons that continue to mold me into who I am. I will always be grateful.

Thank you again to the Canisius High School Athletic Hall of Fame and this great honor. I will always be grateful and humbled to be part of this great club.


Karl S. McKinnie ’77 – Track & Field

The two-time track team MVP captained the Crusaders to the 1976 All-Catholic championship while earning individual All-Catholic honors six times throughout his career. McKinnie also won All-Western New York honors five times and captured a state title in the 400 meters.  

McKinnie's reflection: 

I want to start out by thanking God, from whom all blessings flow! And my time at Canisius High School was and certainly continues to be a blessing! I would like to thank the Hall of Fame Committee and Father Ciancimino for the honor of being included with my esteemed brothers of the Blue & Gold who are not only being honored today, but all those who have gone before us.

I want to thank my mom & dad, the late Mr. & Mrs. George & LaVerne McKinnie, who never missed a track meet and always cheered me on no matter the circumstances. I know they are proud of me today! I can hear my dad in his southern accent saying, “Alright now!” My list of thanks goes on and would take volumes of writing to include everyone.

Now for the great coaches and mentors here at Canisius High School. Let me acknowledge Mr. Sala, who was my freshman track coach. Mr. Sala encouraged me to keep trying; I was horrible in my 1st 100-yard dash. Mr. Sala, you were right it did work out! And the late great, and I mean great, Mr. James Skipper. Mr. Skipper was such an important part of my growth not only as a runner but also as a person. Yes, I’m tearing up as I write this. Mr. Skipper always said, “You are a winner today if you leave the track knowing that you did your very best, no matter what place you finished!” That instilled in me that there’s something more to sports than winning or losing. Something that Canisius High School as a whole lives by: AMDG “ad majorem Dei gloriam” latin for “For The Greater Glory of God.” I am also grateful to Mr. Jeff Gemmer, another great example of coaching and teaching, not just sports but life as well. Again, I could rattle on and on about the great influences on this side of the Blue Doors. However it would be endless. Thank you to all the teachers and coaches of Canisius High School. I do have a special thank you for Mrs. Kathleen Skipper, who shared her husband with us as student athletes of CHS. When I was learning how to run, I actually went to the library to read books written on the subject. Yep, there was no internet, and I would call Mr. Skipper at home with questions sometimes more than once in a day. Now in adulthood I realize it was usually around dinner time and never once did Mrs. Skipper say “Aren’t you going to see Karl at school tomorrow?” Thank you, Mrs. Skipper. And another very special thank you to Richard Spears, who nominated me for this honor.

I want to thank my teammates over the four years we traveled together, laughed together, and sometimes cried together. I know I did when we lost to Bishop Turner junior year! Our friendships remain until this day.

Thank you to everyone in attendance today and again to the Canisius High School Athletic Hall of Fame for this great honor. I am truly, truly grateful for being honored and enshrined here at Canisius High School! As we say, “This place is special.”


Joseph L. Ogiony ’73 – Swimming

The four-year member of a dominant varsity team was a three-time All-Catholic honoree who went undefeated in the 100-yard butterfly during both his junior and senior years. The team captain anchored the freestyle and medley relays and qualified for the National All-Catholic meet in 1973.

Ogiony's reflection: 

As I reflect on my life at Canisius and swimming from over 50 years past, I am overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude and appreciation for what they gave me in life. The impact that Canisius, and the people who came into my life because of it, have had on my life is immeasurable. I wanted to take a moment to express my deepest thanks for this great honor.

To my friends, some of whom are here today, Mark, Carl, Chris, Joe, Emmett, Salt, Maura, Linda and the others, you have been my pillars of support, my confidants, and my partners in crime throughout those crazy formative high school years. From the late-night study sessions at Coles to the endless laughter and adventures we shared, I am forever grateful for the memories we created together. Your lifelong friendship has brought joy, comfort, and a sense of belonging, even after I left Buffalo. Also thanks to the guys before me on the swim team who said “this is the way” — Larry Quinn, Peter Quinn, Mark McNamara, Bob and Danny Pollack. And I can’t forget all my other teammates -some of whom went to the Nationals senior year in Philadelphia (where we saw Seals and Crofts the night before the meet— Thanks Coach!), Geoff Klass, Gordie Hirsch, Bill Pericak.

To my swim coaches Ray Gallagher and Patrick Kane and all my teachers at Canisius - especially the late Fr Paul Naumann, Fr. Gerry McIntyre, Ken Durkin, Liz Friedman, Fr. Ed Nagle, Fr. Pat Sullivan...and I cannot forget my absolute favorite — Father John Sturm, my mom’s first cousin who came over to dinner at least once a month as I grew up expounding the virtues of Canisius since I was a little kid. I still believe he took special delight when “Ruthie’s Boy” was given jug. All of them have been more than just mentors in the pool, in class or on the stage - they have been instrumental in shaping my character and instilling in me the values I carry today. I have tried to convey those same values to my boys - including discipline, perseverance and teamwork. Thank you for your patience, for pushing me to my limits, and for teaching me the importance of dedication and resilience.

I can’t forget my parents Ruth and Ed and my brother Dave. My incredible family helped me navigate the challenges of high school and life with confidence and determination. Their encouragement, advice, and genuine care have provided me with a solid foundation to build upon as my life just happened.

In closing, thank you for this honor. And thank you all for being a part of my high school and life journey, for the love, the laughter, the tears, the victories, and the defeats. Thank you for the memories that will forever bring a smile to my face. I am honored to have shared them with you all.


Dale R. Podlas ’87 – Baseball, Football, Basketball

The three-sport athlete shined brightest on the diamond. The third baseman and pitching ace earned All-Catholic honors three years in a row. As a senior, Podlas captained the Crusaders on his way to earning a spot on the All-Western New York team.

Podlas' reflection:

I would like to thank the Hall of Fame Committee, the board of trustees, and Fr. Ciancimino for this incredible honor.

I would also like to thank my mother and father, who are no longer with us, for their support throughout the years and for the sacrifices they made in allowing me to attend Canisius High School. I can’t think of a single event they were not in attendance providing support. I wish you both were here now.

I would also like to thank my brothers, both of whom are graduates of Canisius, Mark ’77 and Bob ’78, also members of the Canisius Athletic Hall of Fame. Behind the scenes they were instrumental to my development. I benefitted from being the youngest sibling of two older brothers who would also enjoy athletic success during their years here at Canisius in the late 70’s. You inspired me and ultimately paved the way for my own athletic journey years later.

I would like to thank all my coaches and teachers and so many others for all the time, instruction, dedication and sacrifices made throughout my four years.

To my teammates, it was an honor competing with you on the field of play. More importantly thank you for your friendships. It was you along with all the dedicated coaches that proved beneficial to my playing career.

To my fellow inductees, congratulations, it is an honor to be alongside you here today.

Finally, I would like to thank my family and those in attendance. Thank you for sharing this special day with me.

Canisius High School is the gold standard. Being a student athlete here at Canisius can come with high expectations. However, it also provides guidance and teaches life lessons and habits that prepare young men for success not only athletically but in life
as well. Throughout my time I learned the importance of individual sacrifice, discipline, dedication, and to embrace a team first attitude. By consistently performing these traits, individual success would follow. I learned the lesson of paying it forward, to educate and provide guidance to underclassman through not only words but actions as well,

so that they could fully understand all that Canisius stands for. More importantly, I learned to realize the enormity of the responsibility I had as an athlete at Canisius. I not only represented current Canisius students during my time, but I also shouldered the obligation to uphold the success and tradition of those that came before me. This provided me the internal motivation to want to excel. I never took the court or field hoping to win, but rather expecting to win, and gave maximum effort with this in mind. Simply put, I had grown to learn that the opportunity to compete for Canisius would always mean more than individual statistics which held me accountable and proved to have a positive impact ultimately on my career.

Thank you again for this incredible honor of being selected to the Canisius High School Athletic Hall of Fame. Words cannot express what this means to me. I am proud and humbled to forever join such a distinguished list of successful athletes.

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See information about nominations for the Alumni Awards.