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The Very Rev. James M. Demske, the president of Canisius College for 27 years, died Wednesday night at age 72.

Father Demske had suffered from chronic leukemia since May 1992.

He had led Canisius, his alma mater, longer than any college president in New York and had been a Jesuit priest since 1957. Since being elevated to the post of chancellor in July 1993, he had concentrated on relations with alumni and friends in the community, continued to help raise funds for the college and assisted with plans for its 125th anniversary in 1995.

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