Alumni Speaker Series

A series of conversations via Zoom with distinguished Canisius alumni from various fields.

Check back soon for upcoming events.


Past Events

April 30
The Past and Present of Pro Sports

Ken Lehner ’85
Professional Sports Executive

Ken Lehner is a graduate of both Fordham University and Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. His professional sports career includes various marketing and communication roles for the Florida Marlins, Carolina Hurricanes, and Tampa Bay Lightning during which time he won the World Series in 1997 with the Marlins and the Stanley Cup with the Lightning in 2004. Lehner also served as the founding partner and president of the Rockland Boulders and president of the High Point Rockers designing and constructing new ballparks in both markets. The only time he ventured out of the team sports environment he garnered an Emmy Award while overseeing creatives services at Fox Sports Florida. Currently, Lehner is focused on thoughtful sports advising and ideas, through his Skye Management firm, including their recently announced 19NoMore Clear to Cheer initiative to raise funds to battle COVID-19.

May 7
Race and Gender Communication in Popular Culture

Dr. Harvey Young ’93
Dean, College of Fine Arts, Boston University

Dr. Harvey Young is a Yale graduate who holds an M.A. from the University at Buffalo and a Ph.D. from Cornell. He is the Dean of the College of Fine Arts at Boston university. His research and performance on the experience of race has been published in the New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal, and the Chronicle of High Education. Dr. Young has been featured as a popular culture commentator on CNN, 20/20 and Good Morning America as well as in the pages of Vanity Fair, and People. Dr. Young has authored seven books including Embodying Black Experience, winner of “Book of the Year” awards from the National Communication Association and the American Society for Theatre Research.

May 14 
El Niño in a Changing Climate

Dr. Michael McPhaden ’68
Senior Scientist, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Dr. Michael McPhaden holds a degree in physics from the University at Buffalo and a PhD in Oceanography from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. He is a Senior Scientist at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and currently serves as the Director of the Global Tropical Moored Buoy Array Project office at the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle, Washington. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Join Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean at the University of Washington. McPhaden was given the Presidential Rank Award for Meritorious Service in 2004 and in 2007 was a part of the team that was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his contributions to the Assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

May 20
The Current and Future State of Private Investment and M&A in Buffalo

Sam Russo ’01 
Managing Director, Lorraine Capital

Sam Russo holds an accounting degree from Canisius College and is a Certified Public Accountant. He currently serves as a managing director at Lorraine Capital, a lower middle market focused private equity firm headquartered in Buffalo (Larkinville). Sam is a co-founder of two startups LenderLogix (mortgage tech) and Drone Energy (Industrial SmartGrid tech). He’s also an investor in multiple regional startup and real estate projects. At Lorraine, Sam is responsible for ensuring that portfolio companies have the strategy, teams, structure, reporting, and accountability to drive growth, leads due diligence efforts, and supports deal sourcing and capital raising initiatives.

May 28
COVID-19 and its Implications on Emergency Medicine
Dr. Edward Cosgrove '86
Medical Director, Emergency Department at Mercy Hospital of Buffalo

Dr. Cosgrove is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and holds a medical degree and a law degree from the University at Buffalo. Dr. Cosgrove has spent the bulk of his career in emergency medicine and has worked at facilities throughout WNY including Sisters of Charity Hospital, the Catholic Health System of WNY, Bradford (PA) Regional Medical, Olean General Hospital, Lourdes Hospital of Binghamton, and UPMC Chautauqua/WCA Hospital in Jamestown.

Dr. Cosgrove is experienced in the development of urgent care centers, quality assurance, personnel recruitment, practice standardization, patient satisfaction initiatives and Electronic Medical Record customization in the field emergency medicine. Before being named the Medical Director of the Emergency Department at Mercy Hospital in 2018, Cosgrove spent two years as the Assistant Medical Director. Before that he was a partner at Buffalo Emergency Associates and the Exigence Group.

June 4
Technology Today
Leo Rocco '94

Have you ever ordered a coffee with the Starbucks app? Then you've used technology that Leo Rocco built.
Leo is a successful San Francisco-based entrepreneur. He discusses his new book on product development, a project he is currently working on in response to the pandemic that has other broad based applications, and the importance of teaching coding to students. 


June 18
Alumni Speaker Series: Wine & Spirits Edition
Uncorked: The World of Wine
Shawn Pearce ’94 and Tim Delaney ’98

tim delaney
shawn pearce


Shawn Pearce ’94, owner of Familia Vicente Pearce Wines (FVP), and Tim Delaney ’98, owner of Elma Wine & Liquor via Zoom sample wines from FVP and discuss their industry lives and wine travels. All three wines are available here.

June 30
The Last Dance: A Front Row Seat
Mark Giangreco ’70

Emmy award winning Chicago sports broadcaster Mark Giangreco ’70 shares his personal stories and insights on ESPN’s smash-hit documentary The Last Dance about the 97-98 Chicago Bulls season. Mark has covered just about every top athlete in Chicago from Michael Jordan to Jim McMahon to Buffalo’s own Patrick Kane.

Mark’s first foray into the communications world was as a cartoonist for The Citadel at Canisius. At Dayton University, Mark got started in broadcasting as a disk jockey on a local radio station. He eventually earned a promotion to the morning drive slot and reported news, weather and sports. As the show’s popularity grew, Mark was offered a job at WDTM, the NBC television affiliate in Dayton. A year later, he moved to Louisville to be the sports director at WLKY-TV where he earned the Louisville Journalism Award for excellence in sports reporting in 1982.

Mark had long dreamed of working in Chicago and jumped at the opportunity to join WMAQ-TV in 1982. He stayed with that station for 12 years before moving to WLS ABC-7 in Chicago where he is the lead sports anchor today. He is also part of the highest rated sports talk radio show in the city on ESPN Radio.