The auditorium at Canisius High School, which has hosted assemblies, Masses, theatrical productions, athletic competitions and many other events over the decades, now has a new name. On Friday, September 6, 2019 during the annual school-wide Mass of the Holy Spirit, Canisius President Fr. David Ciancimino, S.J. dedicated the space in honor of Carmelo Scaccia '47 and his late wife Lillian. The aud will now be known as the Scaccia Auditorium.
Carmelo Scaccia is a member of the Canisius High School Distinguished Alumni Hall of Honor. He has been an active supporter and volunteer with Catholic Charities and the United Way. He served two terms on the Canisius Board of Trustees, and serves as an ambassador for the class of 1947.
Through hard work, business acumen, professional excellence and personal integrity, Mr. Scaccia rose from being a mail clerk at Hens & Kelly while a college student to finishing as senior vice-president and CFO of department store AM&As from which he retired in 1994.
In the late 1990s, Mr. and Mrs. Scaccia made a commitment to Canisius High School and Jesuit education that will be the second largest gift the school has received to date.
Mr. Scaccia was greeted by applause and a standing ovation from the student body, faculty, staff, and administration when introduced during the dedication ceremony on Friday.
"We recognize Mr. Scaccia for his unwavering support for Canisius High School and his generous commitment to the future of our faculty, staff and students," Fr. Ciancimino said during the dedication. "Over the course of his lifetime, this alumnus has proven himself to be a good and capable man: faithful to God, to his wife and family, and to Canisius."
The Scaccia Auditorium was built in the 1920s when the Freemasons owned the property, before it was Canisius High School. It was an era when elaborate theaters such as Shea’s Buffalo were being built across the country, and the Masons' consistory auditorium was said to be in the same league with the best of them. The neo-classical style features 10 columns of the Corinthian order – five on each side – supporting the cornice (ornamental molding). Approximately 175 feet long by 115 feet wide, the auditorium towers to a height of 50 feet to the sunburst in the ceiling. The rays of the gorgeous sun, made of Tiffany stained glass, extend across the entire ceiling, representing the open sky.
Click here for more photos from the Mass and dedication.
Following the Mass and dedication ceremony, the entire school community and Scaccia family gathered on Tripi Field for a picnic which served as a celebration for the dedication day as well as the school's 150th anniversary year.
Click here for photos from the picnic.