Land proposed for Bonaventure Square sold to local bank

By Julia Mericle

After more than 10 years and many different design concepts, St. Bonaventure University no longer owns all of the former Castle Inn site.

Bonaventure recently announced that a 10-acre lot on Route 417 in Allegany, N.Y., former proposed site of Bonaventure Square, is being sold to Community Bank System, Inc.. A new loan operations center will be constructed at the location.

The land has undergone a multitude of plans, most of which have never reached fruition. The property was purchased in increments during the years 2001-2003 by the then-university president, Robert Wickenheiser, for prices ranging from $70,000 to $100,000 per acre. The initial intention was to build student townhouses with the space.

Continue reading “Land proposed for Bonaventure Square sold to local bank”

Bonaventure community remembers beloved professor

[Photo courtesy of]

By Joe Pinter, Assistant News Editor, @jpinter93

ST. BONAVENTURE (May 30) – Countless St. Bonaventure University faculty, staff, alumni and students returned to campus days after commencement to remember and celebrate the life of their professor, colleague and friend who passed away on Friday, May 18.

Dr. John J. Watson, professor of marketing in the School of Business at St. Bonaventure University, died unexpectedly Friday, May 18. The cause of death is still not known. He was 45.

The son of John G. Watson, the late dean of the School of Business, and Suzanne Watson, a computer science professor, Watson was also a brother of Steve Watson, St. Bonaventure University athletics director.

The native of Franklinville, N.Y., Watson came to Bonaventure as a full-time professor in 2008.

After graduating from Archbishop Walsh High school, Watson attended Bucknell University where he played basketball while working on a master’s degree in business administration.

After college, he played professional basketball overseas in Ireland and England and then spent time in New Zealand owning and operating the Canterbury Rams. He decided to stay in New Zealand and became an associate professor in the department of marketing at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand. He received the Best Teacher Award twice in 1997 and 2006, according to the university press release.

Watson did not simply teach in the classroom while at Canterbury; he founded the Business and Sport Management Society, chaired the International Student Exchange Committee and also served on the university’s MBA board of directors.  

“This is obviously a terrible loss for his family, our students, his colleagues, our alumni and the generation of students who will not have him as a teacher,” said Michael Russell, professor of marketing. “His ‘can do attitude’ and optimism will be sorely missed.”

Students agreed with Russell.

“He was just a fun-loving individual who was not too serious (in a good way) about himself and others,” said Alexis Thomas, a junior sports management major. “Learning was always the most important aspect of his curriculum, but his methods were fun and inviting from the college perspective of a young person. He truly is someone who will be greatly missed.”

Watson was very involved in many different aspects of the university while at Bonaventure. He also commonly offered his assistance wherever it was needed.

“John spearheaded an effort to revitalize the honors program in the School of Business,” said Carol Fischer, interim dean of the School of Business. “And just last week had received approval to teach an honors section of Introduction to Marketing to our incoming Pacioli and honors students.”

In addition to that, Fischer also said Watson helped the School of Business achieve reaccreditation.

But what Watson was known for among his students and colleagues was how he taught “outside” of the classroom. 

“John integrated service learning into his courses,” said Fischer. “Just this past spring, he gave his students an opportunity to prepare marketing plans for many businesses in the local community. Both the business owners and the students were very engaged in this activity, and John was in the process of sharing the students’ written marketing plans with these business people.”

Thomas had the opportunity of learning this from Watson.

“Dr. Watson was the type of professor who allowed students creative freedom when it related to our assignment projects,” said Thomas. “This allowed me to find my ‘niche’ in the sports industry and allowed me to have a more sound idea of what my interests were.”

Fans of the men’s and women’s basketball teams might also recognize Watson’s voice.

“John combined his love of sports with different teaching experiences,” said Fischer. “As the color commentator for the student-run broadcast of SBU basketball games, he worked side-by-side with students and modeled professionalism in broadcasting.” 

His love of sports also brought him to be involved with the sports management minor that is offered in the School of Business.

Watson also worked with admissions and helped organize a Kan Jam tournament that brought almost 200 prospective high school students to campus this spring. 

Fischer also spoke to Watson’s beliefs and how nothing was more important to him than his faith or family. He would lector alongside his son John (Buzz) at St. Bonaventure Church in Allegany.

“The quality that I most appreciated about John was his willingness to work on whatever initiatives were needed in the School of Business,” said Fischer.  “I always knew I could count on him. In our last lengthy conversation just last week, I asked him if I could recommend to the incoming dean that John be given opportunities to assume a leadership role in the School.  His response was the usual: ‘I’ll do whatever you need me to.’”

One thing Watson’s colleagues know for certain is that he truly enjoyed teaching at a university so close to home.

“SBU always was a special place to John,” said Fischer. “He often spoke of his love for the university.  He grew up here, learned to love basketball here, and obviously had very strong family ties to the university.”

Officials unearth future of the School of Business

[Photos by Kenny Nguyen]

By Joe Pinter, Assistant News Editor, @jpinter93

ST. BONAVENTURE (March 28) —The class of 2017 will enjoy many opportunities current students do not yet have — the biggest being the new School of Business building.

On Friday March 23, St. Bonaventure University held a formal ceremony to begin the construction process. The school expects to start work on the William E. & Ann L. Swan Business Center in just a few weeks. The anticipated date of completion is fall of 2013. 

“We’ve been able to move the construction schedule forward a full six months,” Brenda McGee, senior vice president for finance and administration, said. “The bids were delivered yesterday, and digging will begin in just a couple weeks. By mid-April I hope you’ll see fences come up and the earth begin to move.”

The university is very close to its goal of $15 million dollars for the new business center. Most funds will go toward its construction, but funds will be set aside for faculty and endowments. 

Bob Daugherty, a ’77 graduate of the university and chairman of the fundraising campaign for the board of trustees, said he has no qualms about meeting the goal.

“For the building, there’s not a whole lot left (to fundraise),” Daugherty said. We have other things we’re trying to get money for, but for the building, we’re very close right now. We still have a lot of other people we’re going after to ask for donations so we are pretty confident. We’re well on our way.” 

The new business center is also related to the university’s five-year plan, part of which calls for an advancement in education.

“The first area of focus in our five-year plan calls for us to become an institution of choice for those seeking extraordinary learners-centered communication,” Dr. Michael Fischer, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, said. “Our strategic plan recognizes the critical role of facilities indicating in part the need to develop facilities whose central focus is the learning, development and success of our students.”

Fischer believes that the Swan Business Center will become a major factor in St. Bonaventure becoming this “institution of choice.”

The new business center is named after Bonaventure alumnus Bill Swan and his wife Ann. Ann wanted to have something dedicated to Bill, who became CEO of First Niagara Financial Group. Bill also served nearly 13 years as the chairman of the university’s Board of Trustees.

“At the same time we were looking at a new business building, Ann was looking for a way to memorialize her late husband and our friend, Bill, for his dedicated commitment, loyalty and significant contributions to legacy and love for St. Bonaventure University,” Daugherty said.

Those who envisioned the early stages of the project wished for a building both modern and historically accurate.

“This is a very dramatic and awe-inspiring place to house our School of Business programs and faculty,” McGee said. “The new building will fully embrace our Franciscan heritage with exterior walls of brick, a glass atrium and a rooftop accented with signature St. Bonaventure terracotta tile straight from Italy. The new building will also include a corporate boardroom simulator, state of the art classrooms and a financial services lab complete with a digital ticket.”

McGee also said the new business building will take classical Franciscan elements from our campus and blend them with modern-looking architecture. 

Near the end of the groundbreaking ceremony, a bittersweet feeling overtook those in attendanceDr. John Watson, late dean of the School of Business, was not able to see the shovels dig into the last leg of his long-envisioned building.

“Our strategic vision came from a very good friend, John Watson,” Daugherty said. “John understood the importance of this for the business school, and he wanted to stay on to see this through. He shouldered with me every step of the way. I know he’s still with us, he’s guiding our decisions every day, and I know for sure he’s guiding the basketball teams every day. I always think about him.”

Although Watson won’t see the accomplishment, some feel the new building would not only make him proud, but will make every Bonnie proud.

“This will truly be a facility that will enable us to educate and develop the business leaders of the future in a manner that’s distinctively Bonaventure,” Daugherty said.

Foreign language not a universal SBU requirement

[An artist’s rendering of the Business Center set to be completed in 2014 – image courtesy of]

Out of four schools of instruction, only the School of Business majors do not need to take foreign language courses

By Tony Lee, editor in chief, @sHecKii

ST. BONAVENTURE (April 19) — Scott Wozer wants to be a financial analyst and learns how to read, write and speak math fluently like a language, so to speak.

But he wanted to learn another language, one with numbers and words that sounds different. 

So Wozer did something a few students in his major do. The finance major enrolled in Italian 101 as an elective in his sophomore year.

But after two semesters, Wozer stopped taking a foreign language — not because he lost interest, he said, but his major requirements became so demanding.

“I’m a junior now, and I’ve got my graduation kind of planned out,” said Wozer, who minors in marketing and economics. “So I don’t really have room for it.”

Out of the four schools of instruction at St. Bonaventure University, the School of Business does not require its students to take a foreign language course.

John Watson, the School of Business’ dean, said the reason is simple. Its accrediting bodies have never required it in his 36 years.

Brian McAllister, an assistant professor of the business school, said depending on a degree’s concentration, the curriculum gives business students freedom to take only three or six credits of non-business electives out of the 120 required to graduate.

“There is not too much we could’ve done about it one way or another under those parameters,” McAllister said of adding a language requirement.

Out of a survey from 18 students in the School of Business, 11 said they would not want to add a language requirement — four adding they would change majors if it did. 

However, seven surveyed said they would like to see it as a requirement in the future.

“The business field is becoming more global every day,” said Jenna Jones, a sophomore finance major. “I think that we should be keeping up with the trend, whatever that may be.”

The School of Business became one of 607 worldwide institutions across 38 countries to be accredited by the Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business in 2004.

Jerry Trapnell, the association’s executive vice president and chief accreditation officer, said they believe a foreign language could add to a student’s education about an emerging global marketplace. 

But internships, studying abroad, traveling and other academia curriculum can do the same, too.

“It is an important issue,” he said of a language requirement, “but whether an individual school must or should do it, we think that’s an inappropriate focus for us to mandate a second language.”

Trapnell said most students already know the most commonly used language in international business transactions: English.

However, Shelley Jack, a visiting professor who taught business language for second-language learners in San Jose, Costa Rica, said it would be “dangerously shortsighted if we think English will always be the only business language of the world.”

Nonetheless, Jack said she understands its limitations on a campus like St. Bonaventure’s.

“Is one or two semesters really enough?” she said. “Is four semesters really enough—especially when you’re not using it?

“I think the ideal place to learn language is that you’re surrounded by it and you have to speak it,” Jack said. “But we can’t create that here.”

Watson said if the AACSB required St. Bonaventure to have a foreign language requirement, he would. 

The business school, however, does require a foreign language requirement for its international business minors, but none for its five majors.

Wozer said he considered the international business minor to learn another language but decided on two other minors instead.

He said he still wants to learn another language because it would be useful if he worked as a financial analyst overseas. 

However, Wozer said his first two years at the School of Business has prepared him well for the real world — and adding a language requirement wouldn’t change that.  

“I think they try to do a pretty good job of making you a well-rounded business student as well as a well-rounded person,” he said.