Requiescat in Pace, Liz Lyons Friedman

Keith McShea


Requiescat in Pace, Liz Lyons Friedman.

We mourn the loss of Friedman, the first female full-time teacher at Canisius High School who helped establish the school's fine arts program.

The Buffalo native and Nardin Academy graduate taught at Canisius from 1970 to 1977 and was also the first female lay faculty member at CHS. She helped move the arts from the English department into their own program, which included hanging student art in the hallway of the of the Koessler Academic Center, a practice that continues to this day. 

"I loved being a part of the Canisius family," she wrote in a first-person story from the Fall 2019 edition of CHS Today, which celebrated Canisius High School's 150th anniversary.

In 1977 Friedman relocated to California, where she led more art education programs while becoming an accomplished and well-known artist.

Fr. Michael Tunney, S.J. ’76, the rector of the Fairfield Jesuit community who previously served as the director of the fine arts program at Canisius College, credited Friedman for shaping and encouraging his interest in art in the Summer 2019 edition of CHS Today.

“Her enthusiasm, dedication to her students, and her endless patience and good humor showed all of us how to be both creative and kind to one another,” Fr. Tunney recalled. “Long before Jesuits talked about our lay colleagues as central figures in our schools’ missions, Liz was in the lead at Canisius.”

Milton Braswell III '73, who built a career in juvenile corrections that was guided by his Jesuit education, paid tribute to Friedman in the Spring 2021 CHS Today. Braswell said life for a private high school student of color in the late 1960s and early 1970s was challenging, but he remembered being influenced by Friedman's teaching and her pioneering role at CHS.  

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The following is Liz Lyons Friedman's first-person story from the Fall 2019 edition of CHS Today, which celebrated Canisius High School's 150th anniversary: 


Liz Lyons Friedman taught at Canisius from 1970 to 1977. She now lives in California where she has an art studio.

Canisius High School was always a part of my life in Buffalo. I went to Nardin Academy from kindergarten through high school. The two schools have always had a close connection. Many of my uncles and cousins graduated from Canisius High School; even more of my family, including my father, went to Canisius College. A Jesuit education was a proud tradition in our family.

In 1970, having just earned my Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree, I heard about an opening for an art instructor at Canisius High School. Even though I didn’t have experience teaching and I was a woman, I applied for the position. After several interviews I was asked to teach an art lesson in the summer HAP English class of Mr. Ken Durkin ’58. I was a nervous wreck but the lesson went well and I was hired. I immediately enrolled at SUNY at Buffalo to earn a Masters in Art Education and a teaching credential.

As the first female lay faculty member and the first full-time female instructor, there were many challenges. No one was quite sure what to do with me. What about the all-male faculty lounge, and what should I wear? At the time the lay faculty wore academic gowns … a bit awkward teaching studio art! The faculty and staff were (mostly) very welcoming but this was a big, big change. Thank you to my colleagues and superiors for mentoring and teaching me the ropes! I had many things to learn about … JUG being one of them.

When I began teaching at Canisius, visual arts, music and theater arts were part of the English department. A couple of years later we became a separate, albeit small but growing, fine arts department located in Berchman’s Hall. The beautiful hallway of the former Rand mansion was transformed into a student art gallery. Music, television, and mechanical drawing classes were also held in Berchman’s Hall. The art room, next to the chapel, was a place for studio art, art appreciation and art history. My students painted murals on the walls. We even had a “Paint In” where my students painted all of the table tops in colorful, bold, Peter Max like, designs (this was the early 70s). It is so gratifying to see that 40 years later the fine arts department has its own 13,000 square foot building with rehearsal spaces, art classrooms, studios and a beautiful gallery space. It is exciting to see the impressive growth and development of the fine arts department now housed in the new Center for the Arts.

The art students were an integral part of the first GAMBIT. This was years before word processors and digital layout programs, and the students made posters for every donated item by hand as well as helped with decorating the auditorium. Field trips included walking to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, a wonderful way to introduce my students to art and identify the different architectural styles along the way. I loved being a part of the Canisius family. Congratulations, Canisius, on 150 years of Jesuit education in Buffalo!

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Read the obituary from the Santa Cruz Sentinel 

Military appointments among scores of students honored at Senior Awards Ceremony

Tuesday’s Senior Awards Ceremony honored scores of members of the Class of 2022, which collectively has earned more than $21 million in college scholarships and grants.  

Students attending service academies, earning national honors and school-wide recognition for a wide range of activities and achievements were honored before their parents and schoolmates in the historic Scaccia Auditorium.

Victor Mazzara named Mr. Canisius 2022

The 61st Mr. Canisius was announced by principal Ms. Andrea Tyrpak-Endres during this morning's senior awards.

These are the words of Mr. Canisius 2022 upon being nominated:

"I am beyond thankful for the formative role the entire Canisius community has played in my life. No longer am I the shy, anxious kid that walked through the Blue Doors in 2018 ... 

Peter Reiser ’84 named dean of students at Canisius

Peter Reiser ’84, who has 22 years of experience in Jesuit education, including six of those here at Canisius, has been named dean of students at Canisius High School, Principal Andrea Tyrpak-Endres announced Monday morning.

Reiser was the director of college counseling at Canisius from 2000 to 2006. He has spent the last 16 years at Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, Colorado.

Finalists announced for 2022 Mr. Canisius award

The Mr. Canisius Award is presented annually to the graduating senior who, in the estimation of his peers, epitomizes all that Canisius stands for. 

Read the reflections written by the 2022 finalists about their time at Canisius and what it means to be a candidate for this award. 

Requiescat in Pace, Liz Lyons Friedman

We mourn the loss of Friedman, who was the first female full-time teacher at Canisius High School.

The Buffalo native and Nardin graduate taught at Canisius from 1970 to 1977 and was also the first female lay faculty member at CHS; she helped establish the fine arts program at Canisius.

The GAMBIT silent auction is open!

The GAMBIT silent auction is open!

Check out hundreds of awesome items, from a signed Josh Allen authentic Buffalo Bills helmet to an embroidered CHS dog sweater (dog not included :-) ).

The auction runs through Saturday night, when hundreds will gather at CHS for GAMBIT XLVII.

'All you really need is heart:' Great run for 'Damn Yankees' cast and crew

"You've gotta have heart ... all you really need is heart. ... When the odds are sayin' you'll never win ... that's when the grin should start."

Congratulations to the grinning cast and crew of "Damn Yankees," who seemed to take manager Van Buren's advice after they endured several Covid-related delays and switched musicals in the middle of the rehearsal schedule (!) ... only to respond by putting on a great show for three evenings last week in our historic Scaccia Auditorium.

CHS students raise more than $5,500 in Lenten Mission Drive

A special dress-down event on St. Patrick's Day capped off a very successful Lenten Mission Drive by Canisius students.

More than $5,500 was raised in two weeks, marking the drive's highest total in five years. The Lenten Mission Drive, as it has for the last decade, benefitted two fellow Jesuit schools in Micronesia, located in the western Pacific Ocean: Yap Catholic High School and Chuuk Xavier High School.

CHS presents 'Damn Yankees' this week

OPENING THIS WEEK: Canisius High School presents our musical, “Damn Yankees."

Performances are Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in our historic Scaccia Auditorium. Tickets ($12.50 adults, $7 students) can be purchased at the door starting at 7 each night.

Requiescat in Pace, Dr. Donald Pinkel '44.

We mourn the loss of Dr. Pinkel, who was a pioneer in cancer treatment and the first director of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

“Donald Pinkel introduced the word 'cure' to cancer,” said Dr. James Downing, current president and CEO of St. Jude.

Read our 2017 CHS Today story on his legacy.

CHS Black Student Union hosts Darius Pridgen's 'Power to the People' show

The CHS Black Student Union hosted Darius Pridgen and the Power to People Show at Canisius.

Pridgen, the Common Council President and the senior pastor at True Bethel Baptist Church, joined with co-host Marc Pope for an on-air discussion with CHS students about the Black Student Union, life at Canisius and the students’ future plans.

From the President's Office

Read "From the President's Office" by President Fr. David Ciancimino, S.J., from the Winter edition of CHS Today magazine. 

Upon completion of our accreditation process with the New York State Association of Independent Schools, Larry Frye, chair of the visiting team and the Head of School at The Harley School in Rochester, began his report to the faculty and staff with what he referred to as the highest compliment a visiting team can make: “You are who you say you are."