Niagara University Eagle magazine Fall 2021

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Niagara University

creating a






$5 million gift

Vol. 36 issue 2

will support students from under-resourced communitites page 8

The Niagara University Eagle is published by the Office of Institutional Advancement. Please send correspondence to: Lisa McMahon, M.A.’09, Editor Niagara University, N.Y., 14109 716.286.8747 /

Vol. 36, issue 2

Inside this issue FEATURES





Award-winning Cinematographer Blazing a Trail


1 Opening Remarks 2 On the Ridge 18 News From the Nest 22 Catching Up

Founded by the Vincentian Community in 1856, Niagara University is a private liberal arts university with a strong, values-based Catholic tradition. Its five academic divisions include the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Nursing, Education, and Hospitality and Tourism Management. The university also maintains an Academic Exploration Program that provides a learning community for students who are undecided about their major.



s you can well imagine, fall is one of our busiest times of the year at Niagara University, and this fall has been especially busy. In addition to welcoming our students back to Monteagle Ridge— while adhering to new safety protocols to mitigate the ongoing challenges from COVID-19—the university has also welcomed several new deans and administrators to the Niagara family. In the last issue of the Eagle, we announced the appointment of Dr. Christine Verni as the new dean of the College of Nursing. Dean Verni has settled in beautifully and is leading the college with a strong commitment to success. We are pleased with the growth of the College of Nursing thus far and are excited to see what the future holds. This summer, Niagara welcomed Bridget Niland as the new dean of the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management. Dean Niland’s passion for the industry and contagious energy for the development of the programs has helped her to immediately connect with the staff and faculty and build a strong relationship with the students. We are excited to see what is in store for the future of the college under her leadership. We are also very excited to have Dr. Tamra Minor join us as the university’s inaugural vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion. Dr. Minor is a visionary leader with extensive experience in promoting diversity in higher education and will be essential in providing leadership as Niagara advances its campus equity and inclusion efforts, initiatives, and functions in the context of our Catholic and Vincentian mission. Niagara also welcomes artist and educator Ellen Owens as the new director of our Castellani Art Museum. Ellen is an innovative leader with a passion for the arts and a strong commitment to the educational mission of museums. She is a great fit for strengthening the presence and impact of the Castellani Art Museum as a vibrant resource for the visual arts, both on campus and in the community.

Rev. James J. Maher, C.M.

Our Vincentian heritage reminds us to embrace each act of charity and acknowledge the importance of giving back. This edition of the Eagle highlights not only the important role philanthropy plays at Niagara and the impact that our most generous benefactors have on our campus, but also recognizes two of Niagara University’s very loyal, dedicated, and generous alumni—Edward J. Brennan, ’78, and James V. Glynn, ’57, ’87 (Hon.). Their continual commitment to our university and our students serves as an example of generosity that I know will inspire others to make Niagara one of their philanthropic priorities. I wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas and a blessed holiday season.

With every good wish,

Rev. James J. Maher, C.M. President EAGLE/FALL 2021



Faculty HIGHLIGHTS Dr. Brian Bennett, professor of religious studies, was the inaugural recipient of the Niagara University Excellence in Research Award. His research is in the area of comparative religion and focuses on the interconnections between different religions and languages, including Church Slavonic, Latin, Esperanto, and Braille. His current project is on the religious origins and uses of Braille.

Dr. Bennett is the author of two books: “Sacred Languages of the World” and “Religion and Language in Post-Soviet Russia,” and has written numerous articles in journals including the Journal of Religion in Europe, Review of the History of Religions, Slavonic and East European Review, Religious Studies Review, and Theory and Method in the Study of Religion. He has contributed to several peer-reviewed editions and presented papers at more than 30 national and international conferences. “Rhetoric and Mathematics in the Saturnian Account of Atomic Spectra,” an essay written by Dr. Joseph Little, associate professor of English, was selected for inclusion in the edited collection Arguing with Numbers, which explores the intersection of these two seemingly disparate disciplines. Dr. Little’s chapter traces the development of the Saturnian atomic theory advanced in 1904 by Hantaro Nagaoka, one of Japan’s leading physicists. The first to predict the existence of the atomic nucleus, Nagaoka’s theory was based on a bold analogy between intra-atomic electrons and the rings of Saturn, which placed him at the fore of European physics and at the center of a debate over the proper practice of science. Dr. Carrie Teresa, an associate professor of communication and media studies at NU, and Dr. Mary Beth Ray, an associate professor of communication and media studies at Plymouth State University, launched a digital music archive which explores musical identity, media culture, and nostalgia through stories about the albums that changed our lives when we were 14 years old. “The Adolescentia Project” shares the ways one particular album helped to manage the challenges and triumphs of those formative years: the first heartbreaks, loneliness and isolation, depression and anxiety, grief and loss, and tumultuous home lives, as well as validation, acceptance, comfort, affirmation, and strength.


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Dr. Michelle Bork, an assistant professor in the College of Nursing, has been selected by the Health Foundation of Western and Central New York for its Health Leaders Fellowship Cohort 10.

The prestigious fellows program was established in 2005 to develop and strengthen a network of collaborative leaders with organizations and systems that serve young children impacted by poverty and older adults. Since then, more than 300 leaders in Western and Central New York have completed the intensive 18-month program, which empowers them to strengthen their personal leadership skills in order to facilitate change and improve healthcare for the most vulnerable people in their communities.

Dr. Brian Bennett

Dr. Joseph Little

Dr. Rolanda Ward, director of Niagara University’s Rose Bente Lee Ostapenko Center for Race, Equity & Mission and associate professor of social work, was honored for her leadership in fostering social justice, equity, democracy, and inclusion by Niagara Organizing Alliance for Hope and for her work as a member of the Niagara Falls Health Equity Task Force by Leadership Niagara. Dr. Ward received the Service to the Community award from NOAH in recognition of her work in creating and leading the task force and her tireless efforts to educate the Niagara Falls community about the COVID-19 vaccine. Throughout the early months of the pandemic, Dr. Ward worked with representatives from healthcare, faith communities, schools, community agencies, and government to ensure that access to testing, tracing, food, shelter and housing, medicine, and other supplies were available to all members of the community, especially the underserved. When vaccines were developed, she began focusing on education and encouraging all members of the Niagara Falls community to get vaccinated. The task force was also honored as Organization of the Year by Leadership Niagara at its annual awards luncheon Nov. 4. Dr. Michael Cassidy, Dr. Craig Rivera, Dr. Timothy Lauger, and Dr. Paul Schupp, faculty members in the criminology and criminal justice department, identified the drivers of violations and revocations in Niagara County and offered evidence-based solutions for policy and practice in their study, “Reducing Revocations Chal-

Dr. Carrie Teresa

Dr. Michelle Bork

Dr. Rolanda Ward

lenge: Niagara County, NY,” which was funded by an $185,000 grant from Arnold Ventures and the CUNY Institute for State and Local Governance and conducted in partnership with the Niagara County Probation Department. Niagara was one of 10 jurisdictions selected to participate in this national initiative, which aims to increase success on probation through the identification, piloting, and testing of promising strategies grounded in a robust analysis and understanding of why revocations occur.


Understudy Opens Niagara University Theatre-goers will now be able to enjoy wine, beer, and snacks before and during performances in the renovated Leary Theatre lounge, which was redecorated with new tables and seating over the summer. A focal point of the lounge is a beautiful antique Steinway grand piano, which was generously donated to the university in 2019 by the Leone family in memory of their father, Dr. Casmer Leone, B.S.’43, who practiced medicine in Niagara Falls, N.Y., for 47 years. The Understudy, located beneath the stage, was slated to open during the premiere of “Pippin” in the spring of 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic postponed its unveiling until fall 2021. Its grand opening was Dec. 3, before the performance of “Jane Austen’s Emma.” Proceeds from food and beverage sales will support the NU Players, an all-student organization that performs on campus and in the community during the academic year. Theatre students Tricia Lazatin, Morgan Mincer, and Christian Hines in the Understudy, the theatre’s new lounge.

Levesque Institute Delivers Holiday Meals to Those in Need

Career Services’ Outstanding Programs Recognized by Colleges of Distinction

Niagara University’s Levesque Institute for Civic Engagement and its IMPACT program partnered with several community organizations to distribute turkeys and meals to families in need through its Caring in the Community initiative.

Niagara University’s Career Services has received national recognition by Colleges of Distinction for excellence in the way it prepares students to graduate with confidence, clarity of direction, and a heightened sense of purpose. Through student-centered programs that include one-onone counseling and mentoring, comprehensive access to internships and other real-world experiences, and special scholarships, students are well-equipped for leadership in their chosen profession.

On Nov. 20 and 21, 2021, the institute teamed up with NU alumna Nasreen Akhtar, ’07, MAIS’11, owner of Aero Transportation, to distribute 400 turkeys, sides, and canned goods during the company’s 5th annual Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway. Students from the university’s StudentAthletes of Color Alliance and ROTC program assisted with the distribution, which took place at the Doris Jones Resource Center and St. John’s AME Church in Niagara Falls. “Food insecurity has increased steadily since the pandemic,” said Rhonda Bivins-Talley, IMPACT director. “Initiatives such as these provide families with short-term relief in a very meaningful way.” The following day, students delivered 150 Thanksgiving meals to families in the Niagara Falls City School District. The food was prepared by F-Bites, an afterschool educational nutrition program designed for students in grades five through 12 that introduces healthier eating habits and practices through hands-on learning, peer support, and guest speakers. “The Levesque Institute was happy to collaborate with the Niagara Falls City School District and F-Bites to make this happen,” said Karen Kwandrans, executive director of the institute. “Initiatives like these enable our students to live Niagara’s Vincentian mission and see firsthand how their service impacts their community.”

Career Services’ signature Pathways program is a holistic approach to career and professional development that offers a number of unique opportunities to students as they progress through every stage of career exploration, development, and application. In addition to providing career advisement and resources, Career Services partners with faculty across the university to provide industry-specific workshops and resources as part of the curriculum, and with employers across the country to place students in internships and jobs. The Mentoring NU program connects students to College of Business alumni and business executives to facilitate opportunities for them to learn how these professionals have developed in their own careers, and a recently established Career Internship Discovery Fund provides a stipend for students who participate in unpaid, credit-bearing internships. In addition to Career Services, Niagara University’s business, nursing, education, and veterans services programs were also recognized as being among the best in the country.



ON THE RIDGE U.S. News and World Report Ranks Niagara University as

Best Value in New York State

Niagara University’s outstanding academic experience is the most affordable in New York state, according to U.S. News & World Report’s annual survey of “America’s Best Colleges.” Among regional universities in the north, Niagara was ranked number one in the state, and number two overall, as a “Best Value.” Niagara also ranked at number 21 in the “Best Regional Universities (North),” up 49 spots since its ranking of 70 in the 2013 edition. In addition to being named a “Best Value,” Niagara moved up two spots in “Social Mobility,” which recognizes the graduation rates of Pell students vs. non-Pell students. Niagara ranked as the university with the fourth highest Pell graduation rate in the “Regional Universities—North” listing, which is testament to its Vincentian commitment of academic access and excellence for Pell students.

Six Honored

for Outstanding Work in the Spirit of St. Vincent de Paul As part of its celebration of Vincentian Heritage Week, Niagara University recognized the extraordinary contributions of six individuals who have lived the mission of St. Vincent de Paul at its annual convocation, held in the university’s Alumni Chapel on Sept. 29, 2021.

Niagara also appears on the listing for “Most International Students” and is noted as an “A+ School for B Students,” which includes schools that admit a good proportion of “non-A” students (based on SAT/ACT scores and class standing) and allow them to thrive. In addition, Niagara’s six-year graduation rate increased four points to 77 percent, over-performing the U.S. News’ predicted rate by 16 points.

Accomplishments STUDENT

For the second year in a row, Gabriella Ortiz, a senior hospitality and tourism/finance major from Youngstown, N.Y., was honored with the Club Management Association of America Foundation’s coveted Joe Perdue Scholarship. She was one of only seven students nationwide recognized for her commitment to the club management industry. Gabriella serves as the president of Niagara University’s student chapter of the Club Management Association of America, vice president of the Commuter Advocacy Board, NU Student Government Association parliamentarian, orientation leader, and Niagara University brand ambassador. Cassandra Siwy, a 2020 graduate of NU’s accounting program and current student in its master of science in finance program, was awarded the Jane M. Klausman Women in Business Scholarship from Zonta Club International District 4 in recognition of her academic accomplishments and dedication to community service.

Cassandra Siwy with Pam Kilmer, vice president of the Zonta Club of Niagara Falls.


The Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., Niagara University president, with Caritas Medal honoree Eddie Burnett.

Gabriella Ortiz

The Orchard Park, N.Y., native completed finance and audit internships with a number of organizations during her undergraduate studies, including AZLA P.C., Citigroup, the Buffalo Bills, and Deloitte. She also held several leadership roles, including president of Beta Alpha Psi and vice president of Sigma Alpha Sigma, and is a member of Delta Epsilon Sigma and Beta Gamma Sigma. Her community service includes working with Niagara’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program, the Cataract City Classic Basketball Tournament, and in the foster care and adoption department at Catholic Charities of Buffalo.

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This year’s honorees were Rev. Bernard Tracey, C.M., executive vice president for mission, St. John’s University, who received the Perboyre Medal; Niagara alumna Lauren Paul, ’19, MBA’21, director of operations, Cornell University Women’s Lacrosse, who received the Rev. Thomas Augustine Judge, C.M. Award; Eddie Burnett, Vincentian Residence porter, UG2 Facilities Services, who received the Caritas Medal; Adrienne Kasbaum, director of nursing services, Niagara County Health Department, who received the St. Louise de Marillac Award; and Niagara University associate professors Jennifer Beebe, Ph.D., and Dana Radatz, Ph.D., who received Vincentian Mission awards.


Surviving, Thriving The Castellani Art Museum provided the setting for the fifth “Surviving…Thriving: A Journey of Healing Through Art,” an exhibit of artwork created by survivors of domestic violence. NU partnered with Pinnacle Community Services, the YWCA of the Niagara Frontier, the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office – Victim Assistance Unit & Domestic Violence Intervention Program, and the Niagara Falls Police Department – Domestic Violence Unit, to host the event, which featured more than 80 pieces of artwork created by the adult and child survivors of domestic violence and raised more than $800 to support programs at Pinnacle Community Services.

History Professor and Sons Bring Humanitarian Aid to Kenya As soon as COVID-19 restrictions eased enough to allow travel, Dr. Mustafa Gökçek, professor of history at Niagara University, and his two sons took the opportunity to go on a service mission to Africa. They spent five days in early September 2021 in Kenya, where they brought humanitarian aid to the poverty-stricken neighborhoods and orphanages in Nairobi and Mombasa. The idea to assist the people in Africa had been on their minds for several years, but the pandemic prevented them from pursuing it until recently. However, their commitment to service continued during that time, as Dr. Gökçek and his sons were involved in several community service projects including bringing hot meals to healthcare workers during Nurses Week in 2020, and hosting an online ESL summer camp for refugee children. So when they found a contact person involved in humanitarian activities in Kenya and discovered that they could easily comply with the travel requirements for that country, Dr. Gökçek and his sons, Ali, a senior at Williamsville East High School, and Murteza, a sophomore, began planning their trip. The boys set up a GoFundMe account, which exceeded their goal within the first week it was established, and solicited donations from individuals within their community. By the time they left on Sept. 2, they had collected $12,500, which they used to purchase school supplies, toys, and basic food items such as flour and sugar. The donations also went to fund the opening of three wells.

Niagara University Is a Key Partner in Niagara Falls School District’s Head Start Program More than 180 children under 5 years of age will be enrolled in the Niagara Falls City School District’s new Head Start and Early Head Start programs as a result of a $10.5 million contract from the federal government to run these programs for the next five years. Niagara University will be a key partner in this initiative by providing training and technical assistance to program participants, and opportunities for fieldwork and internships will be enhanced for students in the university’s College of Education. The new Head Start/Early Head Start program will offer early education, health screenings, social and emotional health, nutrition, social services, and services for children with disabilities. It also will provide support and resources for the children’s caregivers, including workforce training and parenting classes, many of which will be offered through Niagara University’s Levesque Institute. Niagara’s College of Education will also provide embedded coaching by holding classes for early childhood courses and field placement experiences at the three Head Start/Early Head Start locations. In addition, there will be opportunities for graduate students enrolled in the College of Education’s clinical mental health counseling program to obtain paid internships.

“We really believe in the value of community service and that what makes life truly meaningful is to serve others,” Dr. Gökçek explained. “We all pursue happiness, but the purest happiness is in making others happy, so we try to find opportunities to serve the community that we live in or serve others who are less fortunate than us.” Although Dr. Gökçek has organized several study-abroad trips to his native Turkey, the experience of being in Kenya has inspired him to explore leading one to that country so that his students can experience the diversity, the history, and the cultural richness of Africa. “Once COVID is over, I really do hope that we can put those trips together again,” he said. “They would be a unique educational experience, not just for our students, but for everyone who is engaged in it.” Dr. Gökçek added that being a member of the Niagara University community, where so many are also engaged in service activities, is “an amazing feeling (because) you know that you share the same excitement with others.”

Head Start and Early Head Start programs are based on a national model that provides a comprehensive education for children ages zero to five. Focusing on early development, health, and family well-being, the program engages children and families in the early learning process to promote school readiness. “Every child should enter kindergarten ready to learn and succeed in school, and this program will help them to do so,” said Dr. Chandra Foote, dean of Niagara’s College of Education. “We are happy to partner with the Niagara Falls School District on this critical initiative that will serve both our young children and the people who care for them. This work complements other College of Education initiatives, including Help Me Grow and the Niagara County Early Child Care Quality Improvement Project.”

Dr. Mustafa Gökçek, professor of history at Niagara University, and his sons, Ali and Murteza, brought humanitarian aid to two cities in Kenya in early September 2021.



ON THE RIDGE Kiernan Center Undergoes

$11.5 Million Renovation Niagara University hosted a “topping off” ceremony on Nov. 4, 2021, to place the final construction beam into place as part of the university’s $11.5 million renovation to the Kiernan Recreation Center. Project construction began this past July, and the renovation is expected to be completed for the fall 2022 semester. Funding for the project includes a $1 million grant from the NYS Higher Education Capital Matching program, as well as other private donations and university investments.

The project will include the construction of an 18,000 sq. ft., two-story addition with a new weight room, sports medicine suite, advanced dance studios, field and classroom storage, athletic locker rooms, team meeting space, and recreation offices. Students will also benefit from the creation of student meeting and multiuse spaces, and a new, more welcoming, entryway. A number of improvements will also be completed during the renovation, including replacement to the front gym floor, upgrades to Scaffidi gym, and infrastructure enhancements such as a new natatorium filtration system.

The final construction beam, signed by Niagara University staff, faculty, students, and LeChase Construction Services representatives, is put into place on the Kiernan Center.

“Niagara University is committed to providing our students with a world-class education,” said the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., president of Niagara University. “Part of that education is the deep engagement of students in the entire living-learning environment. The Kiernan Center project will provide our students, and the entire community, with a facility that anchors our commitment to excellence and touches every aspect of a student’s life on our campus.” The Kiernan Center, which was built in 1989, features an indoor track, swimming pool, free weights, basketball courts, an aerobic dance area, and a wide array of cardio and strength-training equipment. The facility is used by more than 2,000 individuals each week, with 400 students participating in club sports and more than 1,000 students competing in intramural sports each year. Students also participate in popular workout programs such as kickboxing, Zumba, Pilates, and yoga. Additionally, the facility has space that is used by a number of academic departments each semester as part of their curriculum. The Kiernan Center also serves as an asset for the Niagara region. The Special Olympics has hosted its annual regional competition at the Kiernan Center since 2008. The center hosted the Ralph C. Wilson Foundation’s Girls in Sports Day in 2019, and the facility was used for the most recent American Diabetes Tour de Cure event (2019). The Kiernan Center is also used each year by hundreds of members of the local community for youth summer camps and clinics. Niagara University has partnered with LeChase Construction Services to manage the Kiernan Center renovations.


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Other changes on campus include the renovation of the front entrance of Alumni Hall, the addition of Talons Restaurant and Bar on the second floor in Dwyer Arena, and the Perch bookstore in the Gallagher Center.

Bridget Niland Seeks to Build Relationships

Bridget Niland, an experienced higher education and sports law professional, has been named dean of Niagara University’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management. Niland comes to NU from the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo/Project Play WNY, where she served as the director of Project Play Western New York, a collaborative effort with the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Youth Sports Initiative to provide children with the opportunity to live an active, healthy, and fun life through sports. While working on Project Play WNY, Niland continued her role as an associate professor of business administration at Daemen College, where she spent 15 years developing and expanding the college’s sport management specialization and overseeing the business law curriculum. As a faculty member at Daemen College, Niland held various leadership positions, including the college’s program director for New York City business and accounting programs, director of athletics, and special assistant to the president. Prior to Daemen, Niland served as an adjunct instructor at Ball State University, Niagara University, and the State University of New York at Buffalo’s School of Law. Niland has also published and presented on a number of topics, including gambling and collegiate athletics, managing the maze in a pandemic for 2020 high school graduates, and gender in sport. In addition to her experience at educational institutions, Niland worked as the assistant, and then associate director of academic and membership affairs for the NCAA. After leaving the NCAA, she continued to serve as a consultant for academic and membership affairs, as well as Division I membership issues. Niland began her career as a practicing attorney with the United States District Court System and the U.S. Department of Justice.

“It was very clear from her experience in higher education and in law, that Bridget Niland is a person committed to excellence,” said the Rev. James Maher, C.M., Niagara University president. “Niagara University’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management is a center of regional, national, and international excellence, and Dean Niland is the ideal person to continue its legacy and advance the hospitality and sports management/ entertainment industries and the viable careers they offer.” Widely recognized for her leadership and work, Niland is a recipient of the Buffalo Business First “40 Under 40” award, was named to the Buffalo Business First Power 100 for Women three times, and was presented with the Buffalo Niagara Partnership Athena Young Professional Award. She was inducted into the Western New York Running Hall of Fame, the Williamsville Central School District Wall of Fame, and the University of Buffalo Athletics Hall of Fame. Niland’s vision for the college is based on relationships. “Relationships are important,” Niland said. “The relationships we have with each other, the relationships we have with our students, the relationships we have with our community. We will be building relationships in the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management by displaying the Vincentian principles of humility, service, and gratitude. “We will be working with our students to elevate their student experience and to make

sure that it is equitable and accessible to all students,” Niland continued. “We will meet them on their terms, but we will provide them guidance using strength of relationships. We will be re-engaging with our alumni, who demonstrate humility, service, and gratitude. Last, but certainly not least, we will partner with industry. These relationships will be a critical part of our relaunch.” Niland earned her bachelor of arts degree in history, political science, and legal studies, and her Ed.M. in educational leadership and policy–higher education administration from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She also holds a juris doctor from SUNY Buffalo School of Law, and is currently completing her Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy– higher education administration from UB.



Alumnus’ $5 Million Gift

Will Support High-Achieving Students from


$5 million gift from Niagara University alumnus Edward J. Brennan, ’78, a global business leader and humanitarian, and Deborah Brennan will enable talented, highachieving students from under-resourced communities the opportunity to access the transformational education that Niagara University provides. The scholarship program, named the Lois Lyon Brennan Scholars in recognition of Brennan’s mother and his family’s legacy of investing in access to higher education, will offer high-achieving students from under-resourced regions financial support for tuition, room and board, and books for their four years at Niagara University. Acceptance into this program allows for financial support to enhance persistence, academic excellence, engagement on campus (residency) and graduation. A particular emphasis will be given to first-generation college students from national and regional areas, including Niagara Falls, Tuscarora/indigenous communities, rural districts in New York state, and urban areas.

“Ed and Deborah Brennan have continually demonstrated their commitment to education and their unwavering support for those who may live their life on the margins of society,” said the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., president of Niagara University. “We are excited to launch the Lois Lyon Brennan Scholars Program, and we are extremely grateful to Ed and Debbie Brennan for living their lives with Vincentian hearts, for their continued commitment to education, and for their incredible support of Niagara University. Through their generosity, not only will they influence the lives of Niagara students, but we know that these scholars will create an impactful and lasting change in the Vincentian tradition.”


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(L-r) Niagara University President Rev. James J. Maher, C.M.; Edward Brennan, ’78; Deborah Brennan; Dr. Lori Quigley, former assistant to the provost for graduate programs; Nathaniel Johnson, ’22; New York State Assemblyman Angelo Morinello; and Niagara Falls Mayor Robert Restaino.

Students selected as Lois Lyon Brennan Scholars will participate in high-impact practices, including study-abroad and community service, and complete a related capstone course as part of the program. These opportunities will elevate their engagement with the campus, enhance their leadership skills, and increase their global awareness, creating a path to both graduation and career success. “Debbie and I are extremely pleased to build upon our mission of providing education to the underserved,” said Brennan. “The Lois Lyon Brennan scholarship program builds upon our commitment to helping the underserved, which includes the construction of a school, and scholarships for roughly 400 students in Haiti. As an alumnus of Niagara University, I welcome the opportunity to bring our Vincentian values and inclusive excellence to high-achieving students who may not have this access to college and the engaging experience that leads to success.” Brennan, who currently serves as the chairman of Niagara University’s Board of Trustees, was chairman, president, and CEO of Duty Free Shoppers (DFS)

The Lois Lyon Brennan scholarship program, established in memory of Ed Brennan’s mother, will enable talented students from under-resourced communities the opportunity to access the transformational education that Niagara University provides.

Group Ltd. During his 25-year career with DFS, he led the organization through substantial expansion, navigating the economic climate while investing for the future. He was an early visionary of the potential growth of the Chinese consumer and, in 2003, made the strategic decision to move DFS headquarters from San Francisco to Hong Kong. Under his leadership, the company became a more than $5 billion global company and was named “Retailer of the Year” by Duty Free International. He remains active with DFS as a nonexecutive director. Debbie Brennan’s family has owned and operated Beak & Skiff Apple Orchards in Lafayette, N.Y. The Brennans’ son Eddie

Under-Resourced Communities

Ed Brennan with members of the Niagara University women’s basketball team.

and daughter-in-law Marianne (fifth generation) now own and operate the farm. Ed also serves as CEO of the Miller Family businesses based in Hong Kong, and on the board of directors of New Age Corp. The renovated women’s basketball locker room.

Previously, Brennan had a 16-year career with R.H. Macy’s and Co. and Federated Department Stores, Inc., holding positions including senior merchant for Macy’s East, with responsibility for $1.6 billion in company sales; and president of one of Macy’s Merchandise Divisions. In 1995, he was one of 200 executives and other employees who purchased the then-struggling Macy’s department stores. Brennan’s business acumen is matched by his philanthropic endeavors, and he has long been committed to education with a great love for international students and those from under-resourced communities. He is co-founder and chairman of Hand in Hand for Haiti, an organization that built a world-class educational facility in the coastal town of Saint-Marc in Western

Haiti to provide access to education for children and youth in the most underserved communities of that country. In 2016, the Brennans provided a financial gift to Niagara University to honor his father and establish the Edward A. Brennan Center for Language, Culture, and Leadership, and he continues to be active in the work of the center, which focuses on leading, learning, and serving the needs of international families and students, as well as English language learners within the community through agencies that serve the needs of refugee, migrant, and immigrant populations. Ed and Debbie Brennan also made a gift to support Niagara’s student-athletes, funding

renovations of the men’s and women’s locker rooms in the Gallagher Center. The area, which was completely transformed with all new lockers, carpeting, and lighting to create a comfortable and contemporary space, was unveiled in November. “The generosity from Ed and Debbie Brennan is transformational for our basketball programs,” said Simon Gray, NU’s director of athletics. “Just as the Brennans have enriched the lives of countless people around the world, our current and future basketball student-athletes now have the opportunity to prepare for their sport in a modern locker room that features several state-of-the-art amenities. We cannot thank them enough.”



James V. Glynn, ’57, ’87 (Hon.)

Recognized for Dedication to Niagara University and the Community Niagara University honored James V. Glynn, ’57, ’87 (Hon.), one of the most generous and prominent members of its alumni, with the dedication of Glynn Hall on the university’s Lewiston campus. The building, formerly St. Vincent’s Hall, houses the university’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management. “It is absolutely our privilege to honor Jim Glynn by dedicating Glynn Hall,” said the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., president of Niagara University. “Jim and Mary Glynn have been a beacon in our community, providing consistent and generous support to organizations throughout the region. Together, Jim and Mary Glynn have impacted the lives of countless individuals in our community, always doing so in a quiet and humble manner, reflective of their Vincentian hearts.”

Daybreak, an extension of Heart, Love and Soul, which provides expanded services to the surrounding community. “We are incredibly proud of the impact Jim and Mary have made on our community,” added Father Maher. “Jim’s sustained commitment to Niagara University, including his leadership as the first lay chairman of the Board of Trustees, has created an incredible legacy on Monteagle Ridge, and we are eternally grateful for his guidance, support, and friendship.” Glynn first joined the university’s Board of Trustees in 1981, and he was elected chairman of the board in 1999, the first lay person to serve in that role. He retired from the board in 2002 and was recognized as chairman emeritus by

Additionally, the Glynns have consistently supported many university events and programs, including the Ray Kist Golf Tournament, the President’s Dinner, and the Hospitality & Tourism Convocation. Niagara University previously recognized Glynn with the Caritas Medal, the Alumni Award, the President’s Medal, the Dunleavy Award, the President’s Award of Distinction, the St. Vincent DePaul Award, an honorary degree, and the Niagara Legacy – Alumni of Distinction. Glynn Hall is home to the university’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management. The four-story building underwent an $11 million renovation in 2001. It features computer labs on its first floor and technologically equipped classrooms on the second and third stories.

Glynn began working for the Maid of the Mist when he was 16 years old to help finance his Niagara University education. His work became a lifelong passion for him, and he purchased the world-famous travel destination in 1971. Today, the Maid of the Mist attracts millions of guests each year, providing them with a unique perspective to view the majesty of Niagara Falls. As Glynn’s business success grew, so did his commitment to the Western New York community. Jim and Mary Glynn have provided leadership and philanthropic commitments to major educational, cultural, and healthcare institutions, including the Roman Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, Our Lady of Victory Human Services, the Catholic Charities Foundation, Artpark, and St. Vincent Manor, among others. The Glynns have also been extremely generous and deeply engaged in the Heart, Love and Soul food pantry in Niagara Falls since its early days. Their support continues to this day, and they were instrumental in the construction and opening of


Niagara University

The Rev. James J. Maher, president of Niagara University, presents a picture of the newly dedicated Glynn Hall to James and Mary Glynn.

the university. Glynn was instrumental in the creation of the university’s Vincentian Scholars Program, an elite four-year scholarship program that forms leaders in the Vincentian tradition academically, socially, and spiritually.

Teaching areas, including a 120-seat lecture hall, a formal banquet facility, and a fully functional kitchen classroom, can be found on the fourth floor, which also offers an impressive view of the Niagara River gorge.

Creating a

By Lisa McMahon, M.A.’09

CAMPUS that promotes

inclusive excellence Dr. Tamra Minor, Niagara University’s inaugural vice president for diversity, equity, and inclusion, has a vision. She sees a campus environment that respects different ways of living, working, learning, and thinking, and where inclusive excellence—active, intentional, and ongoing engagement with diversity—is integrated into all aspects of the university. And, from her vantage point, NU is ready to realize that vision. “When I looked at the work of the Identifying and Dismantling Racial Injustice Task Force and Father Maher’s commitment to the City of Niagara Falls, that communicated to me a sincerity about moving this agenda forward,” she said, adding that the university’s Catholic and Vincentian mission is “very much in line with work in this space.” As she takes on her new role, Dr. Minor’s initial focus will be on developing a framework that builds on the solid foundation started by the IDRI task force, which recommended the creation of her position and the sector she leads. This framework, she said, will facilitate the establishment of sustainable structures and processes that will help the campus community come to a shared understanding of the work that has already been done and of the work left to do. Growing up in a single-parent household in Youngstown, Ohio, Dr. Minor was exposed to inequity and lack of access through her mother’s work with the Youngstown, Ohio Community Action Council and with a statewide organization that championed issues for women of color. This early experience, in addition to situations she encountered in high school and college, influenced her decision to pursue her Ph.D. years later, when she was re-evaluating her career path

after she had earned an undergraduate degree and was working in quality assurance for a food manufacturer. “I had to do a little bit of soul searching at that time because I wasn’t happy continuing to do the work I was doing. It just wasn’t as rewarding for me anymore,” she said. As she considered her options, she met faculty at The Ohio State University researching human capital theory. She was intrigued by their work, which looked at why certain people found themselves in particular situations. She decided to enroll in the consumer and family economics program, minoring in business management and human resources, to explore the research further. Her studies convinced her that DEI was the space where she wanted to work. After earning her Ph.D., she began her work in DEI at her alma mater, then took on positions as director of organizational development at Columbus Public Schools in Ohio; as associate vice-chancellor for institutional diversity at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington; and as chief diversity officer and assistant vice president for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the University at Albany. Early in her career, she realized that education in the DEI space needs to reach people where they are, rather than being offered as “one-size-fits-all” training. “People receive things in different ways,” she said. “It’s important to really think systematically about the needs of various populations, recognizing that we all come from different places, figuring out where people are, and then begin-

ning to provide training for them on an ongoing basis that builds upon the previous training that they had.” To that end, her office will serve as a resource for other university sectors to develop their specific DEI initiatives in alignment with a campuswide plan guided by assessment and evaluation. By communicating the progress of the initiative frequently and in a way that resonates with all campus community members, Dr. Minor hopes to encourage collaboration that will help identify the gaps in the work and create a strategy to address them. “The thought of working collaboratively with the campus and the Niagara community to have the type of impact that would transform the lives of Niagara University’s students, faculty, staff, and the community, in particular the poor, will be rewarding,” she said. “I am also excited about the opportunity to help the institution realize its Vincentian, Catholic mission, and I am honored to serve in this new capacity.”



Ellen Owens named director of THE

Castellani Art Museum


rtist, educator, and arts administrator Ellen Owens has been named director of the Castellani Art Museum at Niagara University. In her new role, which began Nov. 1, 2021, she will provide dynamic leadership for the museum, which has a permanent collection that includes more than 5,000 pieces of primarily modern and contemporary art. “Ellen Owens is a talented, innovative, and collaborative leader with a great passion for the arts and an unwavering commitment to the educational mission of museums,” said the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., Niagara University president. “These qualities will serve her well as she develops programs and initiatives to strengthen the presence and impact of the Castellani Art Museum as a vibrant resource for the visual arts on campus, as well as for the entire Western New York region.” Throughout her career, in positions that include education director, executive director, curator, and board member, Owens has created meaningful visitor, student, and staff experiences. For the past seven years, she has provided strategic guidance as part of the executive leadership team of the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, the largest anthropology museum in the U.S. This team recently completed an $80 million institutional transformation project to reimagine 10,000 square feet of galleries and public space, rebrand through a massive marketing campaign, and

12 Niagara University

unveil new programming. During her tenure, Owens assisted in raising more than $4.5 million for her department through grants, sponsorships, and other fundraising initiatives, new collaborations and partnerships were established, and program attendance grew significantly. Owens and her team launched Unpacking the Past, a multistage education program that serves more than 6,000 public middle school students annually. She also spearheaded the groundbreaking Global Guides program, which hires local immigrants and refugees to lead gallery tours that relate personal stories to history from their countries of origin. Owens served as coordinator and senior lecturer in the master’s degree program in museum education at the University of the Arts, and has held several positions at art-, history-, and science-based institutions in and around the Philadelphia, Pa., area, including executive director of Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens, a folk art gallery and museum; and manager of education at the American Philosophical Society Museum, with galleries focused on history, art, and science. She began her career at Creative Oasis Arts Studio as assistant manager of the gallery and coordinator and instructor at its arts camps. An energetic advocate and volunteer for the arts, Owens has held numerous nonprofit trustee roles with The Print Center, The Museum Council of Greater Philadelphia, the Arts and Business Council of Philadelphia, Citizens for the Arts in Pennsylvania, and others. She is

a graduate of notable leadership programs such as the Getty Leadership Institute and Nonprofit Executive Leadership Institute at Bryn Mawr College. “The Castellani family and I welcome Ellen to the museum team and the NU family,” said Carla Castellani, daughter of the museum’s founders Armand and Eleanor Castellani. “Her museum acumen and experience in the education arena will be a terrific asset. She is dedicated to building on the past, supporting the museum’s mission, and developing a stronger future in serving the community and region.” “As I became more familiar with the Castellani Museum, I was compelled by its origin story of Armand Castellani’s successful business ventures and his passion for modern and contemporary art,” Owens says. “The Castellani’s commitment to diverse audiences through its folk arts and education programs, along with its integration of learning projects for Niagara students, directly align with my own values and professional experiences. I am thrilled to take the helm, as I believe the museum is an incredible resource for the region.” A frequent speaker at professional conferences and a published author, Owens holds a master of arts degree in museum education from the University of the Arts, Philadelphia; and bachelor of science in art education and bachelor of fine arts degrees from Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pa.

Conserving Niagara By Lisa McMahon, M.A.’09


painting of Niagara Falls that was stored for decades—one of the first donated to the BuscagliaCastellani Art Gallery on the DeVeaux campus of Niagara University—is now on display for the first time since it was acquired, thanks to funding from a NYSCA/GHHN Conservation Treatment Grant and the talents of local art conservator Eileen Sullivan of Aurora Art Conservation, LLC.

I knew there was hope for it underneath all the dirt, and I felt that it was important because the landmarks that are in the painting are really important to the history of the Falls.

“I just wanted it to come back to life,” said Mary Helen Miskuly, Castellani Art Museum registrar, who spearheaded the effort to conserve the artwork, “Niagara Falls (from the Canadian side),” an oil on canvas painted circa 1855-1875. “I knew there was hope for it underneath all the dirt, and I felt that it was important because the landmarks that are in the painting are really important to the history of the Falls.” Although the artist has not been confirmed, Miskuly believes the painting is the work of Canadian artist Robert Reginald Whale, who painted several views of the Falls from the Canadian side.

Mary Helen Miskuly, registrar at Niagara University’s Castellani Art Museum, with the painting of Niagara Falls that has recently been conserved and is now on display.

The project was of particular importance to Miskuly, who visited the BuscagliaCastellani Art Gallery often as a child growing up in the DeVeaux area of Niagara Falls and takes a special interest in artwork that showcases the cataracts. Once she saw the painting, she advocated for conservation and in 2019, applied for grant funding for support. Miskuly also reached out to Sullivan to take on the project, which started with cleaning all the pieces before attaching them to a new backing and repainting the damaged and missing parts of the artwork. Although the funding did not completely finance the entire project, Sullivan donated the remainder of the time it took to complete the conservation. Newly reframed, the artwork, the gift of Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Scott of Lewiston, N.Y., in 1979, has been on display at the Castellani Art Museum since June 2021 as part of an

exhibition titled “Artists View the Falls: 300 Years of Niagara Falls Imagery.” “It’s really exciting to see people come in and view it because I think it’s different from most of the other pieces we have on display,” Miskuly said. “There’s a lot going on and there’s so much detail in it.” With one conservation complete, Miskuly is now focusing on other paintings that need attention, including a painting of Niagara University by Danish artist Ferdinand Richardt, who was famous for his paintings of Niagara Falls. “It’s been my goal to get these unseen artworks conserved so we can share them,” she said. “At the museum, we’re entrusted to be the stewards of this artwork. We don’t always have the funds to be able to conserve paintings when we want to, but when there’s one that’s as important to the heritage of our area as these, I feel it’s really important that we find a way to make it happen.”



Niagara renews focus on

simulation for nursing students In 2015, when Niagara University unveiled its Nursing Simulation Center, the state-of-the-art, $1.5 million facility was intended to provide “handson” opportunities for students to manage patient encounters and skills in a risk-free environment, while supporting traditional classroom learning and clinical practice experiences. Five years later, when the COVID-19 pandemic limited clinical opportunities for nursing students, the importance of simulation became even more apparent. Niagara’s previous investment in establishing the Sim Center—and the generosity of the alumni who supported this vision—have positioned the College of Nursing to take advantage of this renewed interest in simulation.

By Lisa McMahon, M.A.’09 To augment the technology currently available, which includes four highfidelity manikins—an infant, a child, an adult male, and an adult female— the college has purchased a bariatric suit that can be used on the manikins to give students experience treating larger patients; a geriatric kit to “age” the two adult manikins; a manikin with dark skin; and eight IV training arms in a range of skin tones. In addition, as part of a grant from The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation to address the growing mental health needs on campus and in the community, a telehealth training lab will be integrated into the Sim Center.

To lead this effort, Dr. Scott Erdley, a certified healthcare simulation educator, has returned to Niagara as the director of both the sim and the skills labs. Colleen Koszelak, also a CHSE, will serve as a faculty fellow in nursing.

Because keeping the technology current is critical, Dr. Verni hopes to be able to add an endowed simulation technician position to the college’s staff. “The growth of the college and the expansion of program opportunities will necessitate this role,” she said.

“Simulation is now a necessity,” Dr. Erdley said, “and surveys show that the nursing students like learning in this context.”

Both the traditional and accelerated nursing programs will incorporate simulation, as will the family nurse practitioner program, once it is approved.

Simulation enables students to understand how different areas of study, such as pathology, anatomy and physiology, and pharmacology, come together to form the “big picture” of a patient’s health, Dr. Erdley said, and will better prepare them for the state tests, which are becoming more focused on critical thinking skills.

“The expectation is that when the students graduate, they will have an essential skill set that they can utilize regardless of the environment in which they will practice,” said Dr. Erdley.

“It’s a whole different approach to the boards, and simulation is going to be a part of helping them retool their thinking,” he said. To maximize the opportunities provided by the Sim Center, the College of Nursing is strategically revising its curriculum and expanding its simulation options to include virtual reality and other digital resources, as well as facilitating inter-professional education by offering the use of the space to other academic areas, said Dr. Christine Verni, dean of the college. “We are excited to begin partnering with other programs on campus to introduce simulation to them,” she said. “We will be able to learn about one another’s professions and see how different professionals intervene in the same situation to enable effective collaboration and improve health outcomes.” Dr. Verni added that students will also be able to refine their skills in documentation, dispensing medication, and patient transport through simulated scenarios. “To address the needs of our local healthcare agencies, we are working these areas into the curriculum so our students are exposed to them during their training,” she said. Located in Dunleavy Hall, Niagara’s Sim Center comprises three treatment rooms containing the equipment normally found in a healthcare setting; a control room, where instructors can operate the functions of the computerized manikins students work with during a simulation; and a conference area for debriefing after a scenario.

14 Niagara University

Colleen Koszelak and Dr. Scott Erdley are leading the College of Nursing’s renewed emphasis on simulation.

Calasanctius Partnership Celebrated In appreciation of this successful collaboration, Dr. Forgách, who serves as honorary Hungarian consul of Western New York, spearheaded the installation of a statue of Hungarian orator and statesman Louis Kossuth on the plaza in front of the entrance to Bisgrove Hall. Kossuth inspired and led Hungary’s struggle for independence from Austria and advocated the establishment of a democratic system based on principles such as equality and parliamentary representation. The statue, which was commissioned with the assistance of the Hungarian government and the Hungarian consulate in New York City, was unveiled on Oct. 2, 2021, during a special ceremony that also honored the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., Niagara’s president, for his continued support of this program. István Pásztor, consul general of Hungary, and B. Péter Nagy, consul Hungarian diaspora liaison, offered their remarks at the ceremony. Réka Gőbel, ’97, was one of the first students to participate in the Calasanctius program at Niagara. “Everyone received me with a very open heart and mind,” she said. “I immediately felt that I belonged here.” Gőbel said that she appreciated the holistic teaching and the discussions she had with the Vincentian priests, and that she “was honored that regularly meeting with the president of the university was possible and encouraged.” When she returned to Hungary with her MBA, Gőbel joined Unilever’s human resources office as a recruitment manager before establishing her own business, Kerubi Consulting. She said that “as soon as executives learned I had an MBA from the U.S., I could feel that my words and views had a stronger weight. Even today I use this benefit.”

“We keep contact and we operate a youth business program where we teach high school kids ethical entrepreneurship in quite a creative way. The seeds that were planted during our scholarship years, I hope, have grown and resulted a high yield in personal and social value.” Annamária Ivácson recently returned to Hungary after working in Niagara University’s MBA office during her graduate studies and the year that followed. Now, she is ready to apply what she learned to a job in the legal profession. “The education that I received at NU made a great impact both on my professional and personal perspective,” she said, noting that she learned the skills to manage various functions of an organization. “While I was at NU,” she added, “I also learned that expressing gratitude and appreciation, showing support and dedication are also part of daily work.”

Niagara University is really in the heart of all of the alumni members.

In 1994, when Dr. Péter Forgách, a Hungarian-born eye surgeon practicing in Buffalo, N.Y., approached the Rev. Brian J. O’Connell, C.M., then president of Niagara University, for scholarship support for his newly established Calasanctius Training Program, he began a partnership that has graduated more than 20 Hungarian students with business degrees that they have put to use in their birth country.

By Lisa McMahon, M.A.’09

Over the past 27 years, Niagara has helped to prepare a new generation of business leaders to rebuild their nation’s economy. In 2007, the students gave the university a bench as a token of their appreciation for giving them “one of the greatest opportunities of our lives.” The new Kossuth statue, installed across from the bench, is an additional reminder of the gratitude they have for their time on Monteagle Ridge. “It’s a dream that this program has survived basically on a shoestring budget,” Dr. Forgách said. “The students returned to Hungary and they are in all prominent positions, so our mission to develop and educate students that will serve their country has been successful.”

Like Gőbel, Niagara’s Hungarian alumni have gone on to pursue successful careers in business and government, and in 2014, the university’s first international alumni chapter was established in Budapest. During that trip, Father Maher also presented Dr. Forgách with the university’s prestigious Caritas Medal in recognition of his formidable leadership and generosity. The establishment of the alumni chapter has helped to formalize the continued relationships among the Hungarian graduates. “Niagara University is really in the heart of all of the alumni members,” Gőbel said.

István Pásztor, consul general of Hungary; the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., Niagara University president; Dr. Péter Forgách, founder of the Calasanctius program; and NU alumna and program graduate Eliza Hajdu, ’19; at the unveiling of the Louis Kossuth statue on the Niagara University campus.



passing purple pride to new generations


here are two words that come to mind when describing the Niagara University alumni community: Purple Pride. Now, NU is encouraging that pride to be passed down to new generations with the Alumni Legacy Scholarship.

“The scholarship has allowed us to connect with our alumni who are proud graduates and want to continue the NU legacy within their families,” said Jaclyn Rossi, ’08, M.S.Ed.’10, director of Alumni Engagement. “We have been able to meet alumni we may not have ever met with the legacy scholarship. They are excited to share the legacy with us and we are excited to tell their stories.”

gift at student orientation, a $100 book award for the first year, and more. Ashley Misko, ’09, major gifts officer for Institutional Advancement, said Niagara alumni are absolutely supportive of the scholarship initiative. “The allegiance to Niagara is through the roof,” she said. “They’re so proud to see their grandchild, daughter, son, or whomever go to Niagara.” Mandy (Fibbe) Flaherty, ’87, still recognizes the value of a Niagara University education, as she and her husband, Vin, ’88, return to campus to visit their son, Patrick, ’23.

“The outlook for independent higher education in the northeast certainly presents significant challenges for Niagara University,” said Michael Freedman, vice president of undergraduate enrollment and marketing. “It’s going to require continuous innovation and fluidity for NU to sustain the enrollment success that we’ve constructed over the past couple of years. That being said, I’m confident that we have an incredible team— within the enrollment sector, across campus, and amongst our loyal alumni—that has developed a mindset that we must change with the times and be even more diligent about delivering a tangible return on our students’ education investment. “If we continue investing in our people and viewing everything through the lens of ‘if our students succeed, we succeed,’ we’ll find ourselves in a great situation,” he continued. Katie Kocsis, director of Financial Aid, said alumni who bring their kids to campus for an admissions Open House event are often happy to hear about the Alumni Legacy Scholarship. “Alums are happy to hear we have this program,” Kocsis said. “They had been asking for a long time if we had a legacy scholarship. It’s a good touch point and engages families.”

Mandy, ’87, Patrick, ’23, and Vin Flaherty, ’88.

The Alumni Legacy Scholarship is awarded to qualified students who have a parent, stepparent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, and/or a sibling who graduated from Niagara University. Qualified legacy students receive a $1,000 per year scholarship, and those with top academic credentials are eligible for one of five $5,000 legacy scholarships. If more than one student from a legacy family enrolls and attends Niagara at the same time, each sibling’s scholarship will be increased to $2,000. The total award cannot exceed $26,000 when combined with other institutional aid. Scholarship recipients also gain other benefits, such as a priority application review, a welcome

16 Niagara University

“The people are still friendly, the campus is still beautiful, and the faculty and staff are still caring and loving,” she said. The Alumni Legacy Scholarship is just one of Niagara University’s recent initiatives to overcome the trending decrease in college enrollments across the country. Another is the Eagle Experience Scholarship, which delivers a $1,500 one-time award to prospects if they continue to engage with admission counselors and apply to NU. Despite facing the stiff headwinds of affordability, value, and now, recruitment during COVID-19, Niagara has maintained strong results in its enrollment numbers.

When the scholarship began in 2017, 51 Niagara legacy students were able to take advantage of the award. During the fall 2021 semester, 256 students are recipients. Since the beginning of the scholarship, 325 Niagara students have received the award. “Any bit helps in making a Niagara education affordable for these students,” Misko said. “I know a lot of people are very proud to go to the same place that their family members went to.”

For more information, contact Courtney Corbetta, ’14, assistant director of Alumni Engagement, at 716.286.8772 or

Endowment Funds Honor Alum and

the Love Story That Began at Niagara Dr. Robert E. Ford, ’65, has strong ties to Niagara University, dating from his time as an undergraduate from 1963-65, and subsequently, as an adjunct instructor in the university’s criminal justice program from 1983-86. His wife, Dr. Marilyn Chandler Ford, was an assistant professor in the criminal justice and criminology program from 1981-1986. In fact, it was at Niagara University, when Bob was a guest speaker in one of Marilyn’s classes, where their love began. But that is jumping ahead in the story of the role Niagara University played in this couple’s life and their decision to support NU through a planned giving mechanism. Bob was born in New York City and attended St. Dominic’s High School on Long Island. He then attended Maryknoll College in Glen Ellen, Ill., where he studied for the priesthood. Bob left the monastery after two years and enrolled at Niagara University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology, magna cum laude. Nick Caggiano, professor of sociology, was influential in Bob’s scholastic development, igniting his interest in sociology and, more specifically, in criminology. While at Niagara, Bob was on the debate team. Bob pursued graduate studies at the University of Illinois-Champaign/Urbana, earning both master’s and doctoral degrees in sociology. During his graduate studies, Bob worked with the Chicago Police Department and was a National Institute of Mental Health Fellow. Following graduate school, Bob taught criminology full time at the State University of New York-Buffalo for eight years. He then left full-time academia to become third in command at the Erie County Sheriff’s Department in Buffalo, N.Y., until he was selected as commissioner of Central Police Services for Erie County. The modified metropolitan police agency provided a forensic laboratory, police training academy, computer system, and 911 radio system for the county’s 27 municipal agencies and sheriff. But Bob missed street-level policing, so he took a job as police chief in Port Orange, Fla., in September 1986. He served in this position through January 1999, when he became director of police services for the city, until August 1999. Upon retirement from policing, Bob turned to his other career love—education—and taught criminal justice and research at the University of Central Florida until 2016. Bob also served his community as a member of the Port Orange City Council, running first in 2010. He was in his third term at the time of his

death in December 2018. Bob had two children. Marilyn grew up outside of Rochester, N.Y. She attended the State University of New YorkBuffalo, earning a bachelor’s degree in social service and community planning. Following a stint as a mental health/substance abuse counselor in a suburb of Buffalo, she entered the nation’s first graduate program in criminal justice at the State University of New York-Albany. Marilyn earned a master’s and doctorate in criminal justice while working on federal criminal justice research grants. In 1981, Marilyn was hired as an assistant professor in Niagara University’s fledgling criminal justice and criminology program. On the cusp of tenure at NU, Marilyn moved with Bob to Florida.

providing a framework outside of the monastery where he could examine ideas, the world, and ultimately, his life’s profession, while remaining grounded within an intellectual and spiritual framework. For Marilyn, Niagara University was her first foray into teaching. She had thought she would spend her career in research, but she learned the enjoyment of teaching inquisitive minds and the satisfaction of mentoring students. The Fords began supporting NU through its student scholarship program, and then through Bob’s Class of 1965’s milestone fundraising program. The Fords also identified Niagara University in their estate planning. When Bob passed away, it was an easy decision for Marilyn to designate Niagara University as the place for

Always interested in the operation of the justice system, Marilyn worked briefly for the Florida Department of Probation and Parole as a probation officer. She then was hired to do research, jail population control, and computer information system planning for the Volusia County Department of Corrections. Marilyn progressed upward in the department, serving as head of every sector within the jail, including warden of each of the jail’s institutions. She returned to the corrections academy to become a Dr. Robert E. Ford, ’65, and Dr. Marilyn Chandler Ford state-certified corrections officer and, in 2008, was selected as the corrections memorial remembrances, and she established the director, a position she held until 2016, when Robert E. Ford Memorial Fund. In the intervenshe was chosen to handle special projects across ing years, as Marilyn has evaluated the direction county government for the next three years. and needs of Niagara University and its students, her commitment has grown, and she has estabThroughout her employment at the jail, Marilyn lished a new endowment: The Dr. Robert E. and continued to conduct research and serve as an Marilyn Chandler Ford Memorial Endowment adjunct instructor at several local colleges; she Fund. also enjoyed seeing former NU colleagues at professional academic meetings. Following Bob’s “We (both) value that Niagara University speaks death, Marilyn was approached by several citizens to a student’s intellect,” Marilyn said. “We value to run for Bob’s vacant city council position. She that Niagara University speaks to a student’s decided to run for his seat and was elected and heart. We value that Niagara University speaks served as a Port Orange City Council member for to a student’s spirit. In short, and unlike other 18 months. Although now retired from full-time educational institutions, the Niagara University corrections work, Marilyn continues to consult experience speaks to the whole person. Providnationally on jail and justice issues. ing a planned gift for NU—whether through a memorial fund, through an endowment, or Niagara University is a special place for the Fords. some other gift vehicle—ensures that Niagara Aside from being the venue that led to their University will continue to educate and bless the 34-and-a-half-year marriage, they cite the NU next generation of students and, ultimately, the ethos as integral to their success professionally, larger world, as its graduates will make an impact personally, and as a couple. For Bob, Niagara because of their NU experience.” University helped him develop as a young adult,



NEWS FROM THE NEST Greetings Purple Eagles! In August, Niagara University said a fond farewell to Howard Morgan, ’86, who has been a staple on campus and at alumni events for nearly 20 years. Howard accepted a position as executive resident for mission integration with Catholic Health and is making his Niagara family proud as he starts a new chapter as a deacon! While we will dearly miss that friendly face around campus, we happily welcome one back—Courtney Corbetta, ’14, who has come home to Monteagle Ridge as assistant director of Alumni Engagement from the world of broadcasting, bringing with her an energy and passion for Niagara that fits in perfectly with the team. We are so excited to have her here and can’t wait for you to meet her! Don’t hesitate to reach out to Courtney at or 716.286.8772 for a campus visit or to help schedule an event in your town—she’ll be glad to hear from you! We also loved meeting our legacy families during orientation on Aug. 27! We welcomed our new Purple Eagles, took legacy photos, and gave gifts as students moved into their residence halls. If we missed you, please let us know when you’re back on campus with your legacy student, and we will take your picture. To learn more about a special scholarship for legacy students, see page 16 or visit Jaclyn Rossi, ‘08, M.S.Ed.’10, interim vice president of Institutional Advancement and director of Alumni Engagement, and Courtney Corbetta, ‘14, assistant director of Alumni Engagement.

Forever Purple, Jaclyn

Annual Giving: Every Dollar Makes a Difference: (Now, don’t skip this section!) Students at Niagara University receive an education unlike any other and are able to utilize updated resources and experience advanced technology because of the support given through the Niagara Fund. The Niagara Fund is vital to the operation of the entire university in so many ways, including library resource upgrades to building enhancements to supporting student activities and engagement. Whether it is $10 or $1,000, your gift will make an impact that will be felt today and for generations to come. In addition, your involvement, at any level, will help boost our alumni participation numbers, which are used for the US News and World Report rankings. Last year, our rate was 10%; this year, we hope to reach 13% so we can rank among the top of our competitors. Please give whatever you are able to support your fellow Purple Eagles and raise our participation percentage!

Let’s talk about year-end giving! Don’t forget to make your year-end gift before Dec. 31, 2021! You can make your contribution:

• Through this publication using the enclosed envelope • Directly online at • Through a stock transfer Contact at Morgan Stanley directly • By calling our office at 716.286.8787 Find other ways to give at

All gifts are tax exempt as Niagara University is a nonprofit organization.

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NEWS FROM THE NEST Alumni Events Our office has been busy since the beginning of the semester hosting alumni gatherings throughout the country. On Sept. 9, more than 100 golfers played in the third annual CNY Purple Eagle Alumni Golf Outing at the Tuscarora Golf Club in Marcellus, N.Y., raising over $35,000 to support our student-athletes. This brings the total raised over the past three years to more than $110,000. Save the date for next year’s outing on Thursday, Sept. 8, 2022, at Bellevue Country Club in Syracuse. If you are interested in joining the committee or in reserving your sponsorship or foursome in advance, please contact the alumni office at 716.286.8787. The event sold out pretty quickly this year as it’s a popular one!

Purple Eagles hit the links to support NU student-athletes at the third annual CNY Purple Eagle Alumni Golf Outing in September.

During the last week of September, 165 Purple Eagles of all ages participated in the second annual Virtual 5K. All proceeds supported the student experience and Niagara University athletics. If you didn’t have the chance to participate this year, you’ll have the chance next year, as we are securing our date for the 2022 Virtual 5K. It was great to see our alumni in Cincinnati and Columbus, Ohio, during alumni events around the men’s basketball games against the Xavier University Wolverines on Nov. 9 and the Ohio State University Buckeyes on Nov. 12. For upcoming events, visit alumni and click “Events” on the left-hand sidebar. We were also happy to welcome the Class of 1961 back to Monteagle Ridge for a weekend to share stories and celebrate their 60 post-graduate years. Alumni who traveled back to campus enjoyed Friday evening at the Gacioch Family Alumni and Admissions Center, and Mass, a campus tour, and dinner on Saturday. A special thank you to hosts Bill and Nancy Gacioch and Bill Bergan, who organized this wonderful event.

Jamal Trice, ’00, at the Virtual 5K

NU alumni Kara Borowiak, ’13, Shawn Lynch, ’13, Chris Wolfley, ’13, Alex Cleveland, ’14, John Buckley, ’13, Kevin Walders, ’13, and Jacob Coogan, ’13, came out to cheer on the men’s basketball team as it played the Ohio State University Buckeyes.

NU Class of 1961



Award-winning Cinematographer

Marc Davies Earning a Place

, ’14

in Buffalo’s Filmmaking History By Lisa McMahon, M.A.’09

Marc Davies, ’14 (right), and Cole Bielecki, ’14, at the premiere of “Mother’s Day.”

uffalo is a film town. Its streets, buildings, and people have been featured in numerous movies, and a community of filmmakers has been established over the past decade, solidifying the city’s place within the industry. Marc Davies, ’14, is among those who are finding Western New York the answer to their big screen dreams. Originally planning to pursue a career in meteorology, the Las Vegas native enrolled in Niagara University’s Academic Exploration Program when he realized he did not enjoy the math that was required for the profession. Despite being more than 2,000 miles away from home, the university “had kind of a comfort to it,” he says, noting that both his mother, the former Linda Schmidt, ’80, and his sister, Courtney Davies, ‘11, are alumni. At Niagara, he took an introductory video production class, which reawakened a childhood interest and led him to declare a communication studies and sociology double major. Marc completed a summer video production internship with the Buffalo Bisons minor league baseball team that led to his first professional job with the organization. He worked there for about two years before obtaining his current position,

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in 2016, as a cinematographer with Pegula Sports and Entertainment. That same year, Marc collaborated with other filmmakers, including NU classmate Cole Bielecki, ’14, during the 48 Hour Film Project, a local film competition that challenges teams to write, shoot, and edit a film in a designated genre over the course of a weekend. Their film, “Ride of Your Life,” which tells the story of a young woman who views flashbacks of her life during an amusement park ride, won, and was screened in Paris at Filmapalooza, the finale festival for the 48 Hour Film Project. Selected as one of the five best films at Filmapalooza, it went on to the Cannes Film Festival to be screened with a small selection of the top 48 Hour Film Project films from around the world as a part of the Short Film Corner. That success encouraged the team to continue its filmmaking work and to establish the Pan-American Film Division. Since then, the group has done several short films (available to view on YouTube) and some commercial work, earning several international awards and more than a dozen New York State Emmys. Another short film, “To Have and to Hold,” brought them to Cannes a second time.

This past year, Marc and his Pan-American team wrote and produced its first feature-length film. “Mother’s Day” is an honest portrayal of mental illness through a conversation between a mother and her son, filmed in one continuous shot that spans over a mile and a half. The film, which had its red-carpet premiere at a Buffalo-area theatre in June, prompted important discussions about an often misunderstood condition. “A lot of people who had had similar relationships have come up to us and talked to us about how it really did accurately portray what it’s like dealing with someone with mental illness,” said Marc. “So it’s been really kind of cool to be able to open up that dialogue a little more. Our goal really is to destigmatize mental health, and this film is kind of a way to do that.” On the festival circuit, “Mother’s Day” was named “Best of Festival” at the Queens World Film Festival in New York City, and bested more than 600 other films in Hell’s Half Mile Film & Music Festival to earn the “Programmer’s Stand-Out Award.” Distribution of the film is now the group’s focus, Marc says. In the decade since his passion for video was rekindled in a class at Niagara University, Marc’s award-winning work, and the promise of more to come, has earned him his own place in the history of Buffalo filmmaking.

Dr. Clement Kwakye: Blazing a Trail for Others to Follow By Lisa McMahon, M.A.’09

A less determined man might have given up. Clement Kwakye, Ph.D.’20, was an undocumented immigrant from West Africa whose quest for a college education was not deterred by the fact his status made him ineligible for financial aid or by those who advised him against pursuing one. Now he wants to help others like him achieve their educational goals. In his office, tucked at the top of the stairs in a building that houses the Greater Buffalo Accident & Injury Chiropractic and Queen City Physical Therapy, he proudly displays the degrees he’s earned and his membership certificate to Kappa Delta Pi, the international honor society in education. He speaks of a life enriched by blessings and guided by mentors, and his quiet tenacity is obvious as he talks about his life. Clement was nine years old when he left Ghana to live with his father, who had immigrated to the United States a few years before in an effort to provide a better life for his only child. His mother joined them the following year. Originally settling in Newark, N.J., the family moved to Buffalo, N.Y., in 1995 when his father was hired by the US Post Office. “Coming to Buffalo and seeing houses, no high rises, kids being able to go outside and play on the street, it was just a total change for me,” Clement says, noting that he lived in a 25-story apartment complex in New Jersey, in a neighborhood so rife with violence that he could not play outside. In Buffalo, Clement attended local public schools and played sports, graduating from high school in 2003. His parents had always instilled in him the importance of education, so he enrolled at Monroe Community College and then at Buffalo State, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in communication. Because he was not eligible for financial aid, his parents worked tirelessly to finance his education and he was able to graduate with no student debt, he says. While at Buffalo State, Clement obtained an internship at WKBW-TV with the Western New York Minority Media Professionals program, which sharpened his focus on television production and introduced him to co-founder Mike Quinniey, who became a mentor. “He took me under his wing and taught me everything I needed to know when it comes to television production,” Clement says. Quinniey also connected Clement with his first job in the field after graduation as a freelance videographer

and editor for “Health Now,” a television show that aired throughout Western New York. He produced more than 50 episodes, which featured prominent government and healthcare leaders in Buffalo and highlighted resources for that city’s underserved population. When the show came to an end, his relationship with the show’s host continued. The entrepreneur, who became another mentor for Clement, offered him a position as intake coordinator for a clinic he operated, and when he launched a medical supply company, he encouraged Clement to pursue his MBA so that he could help run the business. After completing his MBA at Medaille in 2013 and managing the marketing, planning, and development for that company for a few years, Clement joined the Community Health Center of Buffalo as a project manager. Just a few months later, he was promoted to director of operations for the organization’s two Niagara County sites. One of the locations was “down the street” from Niagara University and, although he had never considered pursuing a Ph.D., CHCB’s tuition reimbursement program offered him the opportunity, so he took advantage of it. Clement drew from his personal experience to write his doctoral thesis, “The Persistence to Pursue A College Education Among Immigrants with Different Profiles and Varying Backgrounds: A Capability Theory Approach,” and interviewed both documented and undocumented immigrants, who gave him differing perspectives of the challenges they face when pursuing higher education. He realized that many immigrants were hoping for a better life through education, but that limited resources were available to them. So he decided to do something about that. After obtaining his Ph.D. in Leadership and Policy from NU in 2020, he left CHCB and took some time to spend with his family and consider what he wanted to focus on next. He came up with the concept for a nonprofit organization that will connect the undocumented with resources and services to help them achieve their education goals, which he called the Brighter Future Education Network. “I wanted to start that,” Clement says, “because, looking back on my own experience, I had the support system to be able to help me. But not everyone has that opportunity, and from doing my research and my dissertation, and the individuals I interviewed, it really opened my eyes to want to help give individuals of that population a safe place where they can come and get the resources and the help that they need. That’s what the organization is focused on—being able to give everyone the opportunity for

a just and equitable education. During that time, Clement also started a for-profit company, CK Bottles 4 Bucks, LLC, to provide opportunities for his own children. “Although I started the business, it’s really for my children to one day take over and make it their own,” he says. His 18-year-old son is already operating the business while Clement works his day job as director of operations for the Greater Buffalo Accident & Injury Chiropractic and Queen City Physical Therapy (another opportunity provided to him through a mentor). “One day, I would like to see both him and my two little ones running the organizations that I’ve been able to put in place. But at the end of the day, I’m not going to force it on them. They’ll have the opportunity to do whatever they want to do in life, and my wife and I will be there to support them every step of the way.” Clement notes that, in addition to helping his children become entrepreneurs, he is also involved in organizations that empower youth to become leaders. He is a member of the boards of the Health Sciences Charter School and HEAL International, and he continues to produce, direct, and mentor through WNY Minority Media Professionals. “At the end of the day, when I’m no longer around, I want to make sure that my family is well-taken care of, and that I’ve left an impact in the communities that I serve and the people that I serve, as well,” he says. “Everything that I do, I don’t do it for me. I’m always keeping others in mind and I think having that passion is what drives me every day to wake up and just keep pushing. Coming from nothing and being able to work my way up to where I am now, the sky’s the limit.”





Domenick Martello Jr., B.A.’61, began a two-year term as chairman of the UR Medicine Noyes Health board of directors at Nicholas Noyes Memorial Hospital, Dansville, N.Y., in June 2021. Robert Fay, BBA’63, received the Silver Beaver Award from the Garden State Council, Boy Scouts of America, in recognition of his more than 40 years of volunteering with his local pack, troop, and council. This is the council’s highest award for volunteers. Dan Anthon, B.A.’69, M.A.’89, was honored by the American Art Therapy Association for Pride Month. He is an artist, art therapist, and clinical counselor who has worked in the field of art therapy for nearly 32 years. His book, “The Magic Carpet Ride: Art Therapy in the Real World,” illustrates the efficacy of art therapy predominantly through his own artwork, often done beside his clients.


Mark LaRoach, B.S.’70, has been elected to the board of directors of the Fort Hill Performing Arts Center in Canandaigua, N.Y. Ralph Mineo, B.A.’73, retired as a pastor in the Lutheran church in November 2020. Patricia (O’Laughlin) Pastore, FNP-BC, B.S.’76, published an article in the journal Primary Care: Clinics in Office Practice focusing on mental health for refugees. “It is reflective of much of the work I have done as a family nurse

Celebrating Jubilees

Congratulations to Rev. Cornelius Kilty, OSFS, B.A.’64; Rev. Frank J. Rinaldi, OSFS, B.A.’64; and Rev. John F. McGinley, OSFS, BBA’65, who are celebrating their 60th jubilee of priesthood; to Rev. John P. Connery, OSFS, M.A.’68, who is celebrating his 55th jubilee of priesthood; and to Rev. James Fanrak, OSFS, B.A.’68, M.A.’74, who is celebrating his 50th jubilee of priesthood.

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practitioner and grounded in Vincentian values,” she says. Jim Rosebrock, B.A.’76, retired from the Department of Justice Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives on July 1, 2021, after 45 years of military and federal service. Carla (Caputo) Colburn, B.A.’77, retired from Thomas Edison State University in Trenton, N.J., on July 1, 2021, after more than 32 years, most recently serving as the associate director of academic advising. John Schlageter, B.S.’78, retired after 45 years in the airline industry, the last 38 years at British Airways. His career in the World Wide Airport Operations department included roles in customer service standards, as project manager responsible for opening new locations, and in the training department, and he visited or worked in more than 75 different countries. “It’s now time for my wife and myself to visit some of those 75 countries as a tourist,” he said. Joseph Zaccardo, B.A.’78, M.A.’81, recently retired from teaching after 38 years in the Albany Catholic Diocese (Bishop Maginn High School and Notre Dame - Bishop Gibbons High School). He is currently an adjunct professor at The College of Saint Rose and an assistant in the money room at Saratoga Race Course.


Janice (Quermback) Volland, B.S.’80, retired in June 2021 after a more than 40-year career as a nurse and 36 years teaching nursing at Monroe Community College in Rochester, N.Y. David Gramza, BBA’82, is a retired CPA who still works part-time jobs including as a CPA tax expert with Intuit TurboTax Live during tax season. He and his wife, Linda (Ray) Gramza, BBA’83, controller of Whisper Rock Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., travel and camp often. Stephen Saleski, BBA’83, is an associate broker at Sutton Real Estate Company, LLC, a commercial brokerage and property management firm in Syracuse, N.Y. Howard Morgan, B.A.’86, was named executive resident for Mission Integration at Catholic Health, Buffalo, N.Y. He will be involved with mission, ethics/palliative care, spiritual care, resiliency, and community benefit.

Sonia Socha (left) and her brother, John Peter Socha, present a $3,000 gift to junior Jordan Graber in memory of their sister, Katherine Socha Zeller, a 1961 graduate of the College of Nursing. They are pictured with Dr. Christine Verni, dean of the college.

Pat Stack, B.S.’86, and his tavern, Somewhere, were honored as business of the year by the Youngstown, N.Y., Business and Professional Association. Michael J. Knight Sr., B.A.’87, has been appointed to a three-year term on the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Public Protection in the Provision of Legal Services. The committee works to develop and strengthen client protection mechanisms, including programs to reimburse financial losses caused by lawyer misappropriation of client funds through the establishment of lawyer’s funds for client protection. He has been with the New York Lawyers’ Fund for Client Protection for 31 years, serving as its executive director and counsel since 2018, and has also served as counsel and past president of the National Client Protection Organization, Inc. Ed King, M.S.Ed.’88, was named to the board of directors of Saugeen Hospice, Walkerton, Ontario. He is a retired Sacred Heart Secondary School teacher and previously served for eight years as a Hanover town councillor. Robert Minicucci, B.S.’88, president and CEO of Health System Services, was honored by Buffalo Business First as a top C-level executive, one of only 20 recognized as among Western New York’s most effective business leaders. Tammy Murphy-Zayas, B.A.’88, is the owner of Talk of the Town Gourmet Gifts and More, a corporate gift and event company that has served the Washington, D.C., metro area for 27 years. Patrick Riviere, BFA’88, had several of his short plays selected for online festivals, including the Almost Adults LGBTQ+ Short Play Festival in Santa Fe, N.M. He also acted in several online productions, most notably, several A.R. Gurney

CATCHING UP plays for Open University Wellfleet, and directed and produced the short documentary film “Just a Broadway Baby: Mary Ellen Ashley.” Ricky Wilcox, A.A.’88, has refereed women’s college basketball for 15 years, including the 2018 Division III Women’s Final Four in Rochester, Minn. Cheryl A. Spulecki, B.S.’89, has been named to the inaugural class of fellows of the American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology in recognition of her leadership and professionalism in the profession and science of nurse anesthesiology. She is director of the University at Buffalo’s nurse anesthesia program.


Brian Klock, BBA’90, joined M&T Bank, Buffalo, N.Y., as a senior vice president and will transition into the role of head of investor relations at the start of 2022. James Pernick Jr., B.S.’90, was inducted into the St. Joseph’s Collegiate Institute Hall of Fame in September 2021. He is a former Niagara University baseball player. Tami Waters, B.S.’90, was appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario. She is principal at Tami L. Waters and Associates in Oshawa.

honors those who are leaders of social justice, committed to action, and inspire action in others. She is an associate professor in the Jandoli School of Communication and director of SBU’s master’s program in strategic leadership. Dr. Michael Greco, B.S.’94, received the 42nd Annual Helen Lamb Outstanding Educator Award from the American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology during its 2021 Annual Congress in August 2021. Dr. Greco, a certified registered nurse anesthetist, is the founding program director at the Hofstra University-Hofstra-Northwell graduate program in nurse anesthesia in Hempstead, N.Y. In this position, he developed the doctor of nursing practice, adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner/certified registered nurse anesthetist program, the first and only program of its kind in the United States. Yolanda Bostic Williams, B.S.’95, is special assistant to the commissioner and chief diversity officer for the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation. Chris Frauenhofer, MBA’97, was named vice president of finance for Northern Light Health’s Medical Group. He has served in a number of senior finance roles at hospitals in New York state and Maine, most currently as vice president of finance of Northern Light Inland Hospital and interim administrator of Northern Light Continuing Care, Lakewood, in Waterville, Maine.


Lynda Hughes, B.A.’00, M.S.’20, was promoted to the rank of inspector with the Niagara Regional Police Service in Ontario, Canada. Dr. Emmett Whitaker, B.S.’02, joined Southwestern Vermont Medical Center Anesthesiology and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Putnam Physicians. He received his medical degree at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry. Katherine (Adams) Courtney, B.A.’03, was named president of the Foundation of the Monroe County Bar Association for the 2021-22 bar year. The foundation is the charitable arm of the MCBA, supporting programs in Rochester and Monroe County. Katherine is a judicial law clerk at the U.S. District Courts. Lt. Col. Michael Stock, B.S.’03, assumed command of the Directorate of Contracting, United States Special Operations Command. Michael Ginestre, M.S.Ed.’05, was named superintendent of the Sweet Home Central School District. Carrie (Hontz) Klauk B.S.’05, opened her first Stretch Lab franchise in October 2021, with plans to open two more. She launched her stretch therapy business in 2015.

Karim Habib, MBA’98, was named managing director, business lending–Canada at Gerber Finance, an eCapital portfolio company and leading finance partner for companies experiencing accelerated growth. Karim previously held the same position for eCapital’s commercial finance division.

Maj. Steve Szymanski, B.A.’05, graduated with distinction from Georgetown University Law Center, where he earned a master of laws degree in national security law. Steve also earned the Thomas Bradbury Chetwood, S.J. Award for achieving the highest Maj. Steve Szymanski, academic average in B.A.’05 the program. Steve will teach constitutional law and national security law at the United States Military Academy.

Dominic Cristelli, BBA’92, was promoted to chief sales officer at Velosio, an international Microsoft technology partner.

Barbara Hill, B.S.’98, is senior wealth advisor at Marshall Financial Group in Doylestown, Pa. She previously served as senior trust officer and vice president of wealth management at The Glenmede Trust Company.

Shawn Walsh, B.S.’06, is director of operations at LenderLogix, a Buffalo-based fintech company that provides digital tools to help mortgage lenders strengthen their relationships with borrowers and agents.

Dr. Kimberly (Fine) DeSimone, B.A.’93, Ph.D.’18, received St. Bonaventure University’s 2021 MLK Justice Award for faculty, which

Jim Green, M.S.Ed.’99, was named principal of Fairmont Senior High School, Fairmont, W.V. He had served as assistant principal there since 2014.

Drew Dunlap, B.A.’07, B.S.’07, was named to Business First of Buffalo’s 2021 class of “40 Under 40” in recognition of his professional success and

Christine (Wood) Hurley, B.S.’91, is a surveillance nurse in the New York State Emerging Infections Program at the University of Rochester Center for Community Health and Prevention. The program is one of 10 sites funded by the CDC to serve as a resource for the surveillance, prevention, and control of emerging infectious diseases. Dr. Tim Belavich, B.A.’92, was appointed to the position of director of Correctional Health Services for the Los Angeles County Jail in April 2021. He oversees the provision of mental health and healthcare to the 15,000 individuals incarcerated within the nation’s largest jail system. He has been involved in correctional healthcare for more than 20 years.

Matt McCutcheon, M.S.Ed.’97, has been appointed as superintendent of education for the Upper Grand District School Board, Ontario. He began his career in education in 1997, holding positions as teacher, manager of human resources, school administrator and, most recently, superintendent with the Peel District School Board.



CATCHING UP commitment to community service. He is the executive vice president/chief financial officer at Cornerstone Community Federal Credit Union. Jenna (Shannon) Hope, B.S.’07, is executive accounting and operations officer at UniLink, an independent supplier of financial hardware for banks and credit unions nationwide. Kimberlee (Clark) Nethercott, B.A.’07, graduated from the University of Wyoming with her master’s degree in health administration, specializing in biopharmaceutical regulatory compliance. Robert Ingrasci, BBA’08, was named to Business First of Buffalo’s 2021 class of “40 Under 40” in recognition of his professional success and commitment to community service. He was recently named partner at the Buffalo CPA firm Lumsden & McCorRobert Ingrasci, BBA’08 mick, LLP, effective Jan. 1, 2022, and has been with the organization since graduating from NU in 2008. Patrick Mitchell, B.S.’08, launched his own restaurant consulting firm, Hospitable Pineapple Restaurant & Bar Consulting, in 2018, and opened Southern Fare restaurant in Oswego, N.Y., in December 2020. Cara Rossi, BBA’08, MBA’09, was named director in Freed Maxick’s Tax Practice. She has more than 10 years of experience in the industry, and specializes in ASC 740, tax consulting and planning, and tax return preparation for clients in the manufacturing, regulated, and general service industries.

Courtney Donahue Tasner, B.A.’08

Courtney Donahue Tasner, B.A.’08, has been promoted to partner in the Buffalo Trusts & Estates Department at Lippes Mathias. She concentrates her practice in all areas of estate administration, probate, and related Surrogate Court proceedings.

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Courtney Schutt, BFA’10, is sales and rental manager for OFC Creations (Opportunities For Creativity) in Rochester, N.Y. She has served as business and communications manager at Dresden Public Relations since 2018. Juliano Pagliero, B.A.’11, is the assistant hockey coach at Penn State University. Lindsey (Seefeldt) Bond, B.A.’13, M.S.’16, completed a doctor of psychology degree and is starting a fellowship at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Amina Diallo, MBA’13, was promoted to audit manager at Lumsden & McCormick, LLP, Buffalo, N.Y. Cole Bielecki, B.A.’14, and Marc Davies, B.A.’14, premiered their first feature Amina Diallo, MBA’13 film, “Mother’s Day,” in June 2021. The Buffalo, N.Y., based film is an honest portrayal of a mental illness, which takes place through the eyes of a son learning of his mother’s affliction. Both Cole and Marc are co-founders of Pan-American Film Division, and have received several international awards, over a dozen NYS Emmys, and back-toback screenings in the Cannes Film Festival for their short films. Kyle McGovern, B.S.’14, is working in intelligence collection\law enforcement intelligence for the Department of Defense. He previously spent seven years as a federal law enforcement officer, six of those years as an explosive detection K9 handler. Erika (Bowe) Monachino, B.S.’14, M.S.’15, is a systems analyst on the Project Access IT team for Allscripts. Robert Reeves, BBA’14, has been promoted to audit manager at Dannible & McKee, LLP, Syracuse, N.Y. He joined the firm in 2017. Nathaniel Resila, B.A.’14, was ordained to the priesthood for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany by Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger at a Mass and Rite of Ordination at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

Mary Placito, B.S.’15, is an account manager for STORY, Greenville, S.C., a leading digital marketing firm serving the Southeast. Brandon Sterner, B.S.’15, has been appointed president of Spot Coffee International. He will continue to serve as chief operating officer for the Buffalo, N.Y., management team. Brian Poliner, Ph.D.’16, is author of “Challenges and Responsibilities in Sustainable Education: Global Responses to Critical Issues,” a collection of research and discussions from varied perspectives that looks at global access to compulsory education and the essential role it plays in the eradication of poverty. He is also collaborating with a leading publisher to launch a new peer-reviewed journal in public administration and leadership to assist newly credentialed and graduating public policy professionals publish their research. Troy Dowdle, BBA’17, is a financial specialist at SWBR, a multidisciplinary design firm in Rochester, N.Y. Courtney Doxbeck, B.A.’17, is a doctoral candidate in educational psychology and quantitative methods in the University at Buffalo’s Department of Counseling, School, and Educational Psychology. She is also a statistics instructor at UB and conducts research in youth risk behaviors. Her current research on experiences of victimization and substance use disparities for sexual and gender minority student populations was published in the journal Addictive Behaviors. She also is developing a peer mentorship program which matches college-bound LGBTQ+ mentees with LGBTQ+ mentors at local universities. Andrew Parisian, MBA’17, was promoted to bank officer and wealth advisor at Canandaigua National Bank & Trust. He began his career in 2017 as a teller before moving into a financial services representative position. Linda Redfield Shakoor, Ph.D.’17, was recognized for Excellence in Global Nuclear Awareness by Marquis Who’s Who. She is a program director for World Life Institute’s education and humanitarian initiatives. She also teaches and is a consultant for its Global Nuclear Awareness program, through which she helps coordinate a curriculum focused on a range of issues, including radioactive contamination and surviving nuclear war.


John Anderson, BBA’18

John Anderson, BBA’18, was promoted to senior accountant in the tax department of Lumsden & McCormick, LLP, Buffalo, N.Y.

Robert Ruocco, MBA’20, CIO of Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield of Western New York, was honored by Buffalo Business First as a top C-level executive, one of only 20 recognized as among Western New York’s most effective business leaders.

Callie Johnson, Ph.D.’18, was appointed by the Albright-Knox as its first director of communications and community engagement.

Taylor Rae Salat, B.S.’20, was appointed operations manager at the Best Western Extended Stay Hotel in Fishkill, N.Y.

Joseph Stabb, Ph.D.’18, is assistant professor of practice in the School of Advertising and Public Relations at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Joseph Jeffery, B.S.’19, is a licensed security officer at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y. Lita Keller, B.S.’19, is catering sales manager/ wedding coordinator for Omni Hotels & Resorts in Bedford, Pa. Baillie Latour, B.S.’19, is an account coordinator at Mason Digital, a marketing agency in Penfield, N.Y. Mikayla Miloshevski, B.S.’19, was promoted to operations coordinator at Hamister Groups Hilton Garden Inn Buffalo. She started her career with that organization in her freshman year at Niagara and most recently served as front office manager. Julianne Reese, B.S.’19, graduated from the University at Buffalo in 2021 with a master’s degree in social work. She is a children’s therapist at BestSelf Behavioral Health in Buffalo, N.Y.


Kelsey Araujo, B.S.’20, M.S.Ed.’21, is playing professional soccer with Le Havre AC in France’s Division 2 Feminin. Liam Cuddy, B.A.’20, wrote his first novel, “The Getaway People,” the story of a relationship that develops amid a commune of religious zealots in rural Colorado. Liam is pursuing his master’s degree in communication at the University of Delaware.

Sarah Webber, B.A.’20, is a first grade teacher at Pine Bush Elementary School in the Guilderland Central School District, Schenectady, N.Y.

Joseph, B.S.’08, MBA’11, and Amanda Moeller.

Michael Kelleher, BFA’21, is a freelance actor. In summer 2021, he played Bobby in “A Chorus Line” at OFC Creations Theatre in Rochester, N.Y., which was choreographed by NU theatre professor Terri Filips Vaughan. He reprised that same role in October with O’Connell & Company in Buffalo, N.Y.

Brooke McNamara, BBA’21

Brooke McNamara, BBA’21, joined the audit department at Lumsden McCormick after completing an internship.

Ryan, B.A.’10, M.S.Ed.’12, and Rebecca Coram.

Marriages/Anniversaries Daniel, B.S.’71, and Mary (Allen) Russo, B.S.’70, celebrated 50 years of marriage on Aug. 14, 2021, with their four children and 10 grandchildren. Amanda Beck, B.A.’06, married David Pate on April 10, 2021. Joseph Moeller B.S.’08, MBA’11, married Amanda Mauck on May 25, 2021.

Hannah Croft, B.S.’17, and Josh Fose, B.S.’17, with NU alumni (back row) Will Haydanek, B.A.’18, MBA’20; Preston Crego, B.S.’18; Justin LaDuca, B.S.’17; Greg Jubert, B.S.’19; Greg Bremer, B.S.’20; Stu Blodgett, B.S.’18; and Brian Bremer, B.S.’17; (middle row) Kendra (York) Crego, B.S.’17; Jessica Wheeler, B.S.’18; and Maria (Croft) Bremer, B.S.’17.

James Jackson, MBA’20, was named to Business First of Buffalo’s 2021 class of “40 Under 40” in recognition of his professional success and commitment to community service. He is senior manager, market human resources business partner at Sam’s Club, serving more than 2,000 employees throughout New York and Pennsylvania. Lola Osoria, M.S.Ed.’20, is assistant principal at Bronx High School for Teaching and the Professions.

Jessica Bialkowski, B.A.’14, M.S.Ed.’16, and Brandon Sears, B.S.’15, celebrated their wedding at Niagara’s Alumni Chapel with (l-r) Molly Hill, B.S.’15, Jason Bialkowski, B.S.’18, Rachel Zilka, B.S.’15, Shawn Chatmon, B.S.’13, Kate Gibson, B.A.’14, Mike Fetzer, B.S.’15, Kelly Mayer, B.A.’15, Nick Palisano, B.S.’16, Jenna Roberts, B.S.’16, and Justin Roulley, B.S.’15.



CATCHING UP Ryan Coram, B.A.’10, M.S.Ed.’12, married Rebecca Wojtecki on June 25, 2021.

Dan McNamara, ’94, and his wife, Amanda, welcomed a daughter, Josephine “Josie” Clare McNamara, on July 2, 2021.

Brandon Sears, B.S.’15, married Jessica Bialkowski, B.A.’14, M.S.Ed.’16, on Sept. 12, 2020. Josh Fose, B.S.’17, married Hannah Croft, B.S.’17, on July 9, 2021. Joseph Jeffery, B.S.’19, married Courtney Cashma on June 26, 2021.

Josephine McNamara

Becky (Baker) York, BBA’96, and her husband, Richard, adopted a daughter, Sophia, on Nov. 20, 2020.

Kristen Robinson, B.S.’19, and Kristian Kutis welcomed a son, Remington Cliff Kutis, on June 24, 2021.

Remington Kutis

Alexander Wagner, B.S.’19, married Caeleigh Heavey on Sept. 4, 2021. Rebecca Wood, B.S.’19, married Austin Lazzaro on July 10, 2021.

Becky, BBA’96, Sophia, and Richard York

Maj. Steve Szymanski, B.A.’05, and his wife, Becca, welcomed a daughter, Lyla Grace, on June 21, 2020. Courtney and Joseph Jeffery, B.S.’19 Jim Hart, B.S.’69, with Niko James.

In Memoriam Lyla Szymanski

Rebecca Wood, B.S.’19, and Austin Lazzaro

Births/Adoptions Michael, B.S.’60, and Rosemary (Orzehowski) Bregande, B.S.’61, welcomed a great-granddaughter, Sophie, on Oct. 28, 2021. Jim Hart, B.S.’69, welcomed his first grandson, Niko James, on July 4, 2021.

Leo and Liliana Bettencourt

Irene Forgensi Hammons, B.A.’81, welcomed her second grandchild, Leo James Bettencourt, on March 10, 2021. He joins big sister Liliana.

26 Niagara University

Michael DeDominick, B.S.’07, and Nicole Paciello welcomed a daughter, Viviana “Vivi” Marie DeDominick, on Sept. 2, 2021. Lauren Christian Oubre, B.S.’08, and Viviana DeDominick her husband, David, welcomed a son, Grant David Oubre, on March 2, 2021. He joins big sister Charlotte Emerson. Matthew, B.A.’12, and Irene (Likoudis) DeMarco, B.A.’12, welcomed their second daughter, Louisa Colette DeMarco, on Aug. 16, 2021. Sydney (Doway) Fletcher, B.S.’17, and her husband, Matthew, welcomed a daughter, Myla Louise Fletcher, on May 28, 2021.

If you would like to get in touch with a member of the family of one of the alumni who have passed away, contact the Alumni Engagement office at alumni@ or 716.286.8787. Dr. John J. Garrett, ’44, passed away March 5, 2021. He was instrumental in the early days of dialysis and led the programs at St. Louis University Hospitals and Mercy Hospital in St. Louis and Gerald, Mo. George F. Leahy, B.S.’49, passed away Aug. 3, 2021. He retired from Liberty Mutual Insurance Company in 1987. Joseph Meischeid, BBA’49, passed away May 18, 2021. His career included positions in the insurance industry, with the Northampton County Sheriff’s Department, and as director of the Easton Suburban Water Authority in Northampton County, Pa.

CATCHING UP M. Jeannine (Laport) Ryan, B.S.’51, passed away July 10, 2021. She worked as a registered nurse at Albany Medical Center Hospital and later, at a private practice in Delmar, N.Y. Dr. Edward R. Wallace, ’51, passed away Aug. 7, 2021. He was a doctor in Lompoc, Calif., and a founding partner of Valley Medical Group. Col. (Ret.) Richard J. McManus, B.A.’52, passed away Sept. 4, 2021. He had a 28-year career as a U.S. Army officer, retiring with the rank of colonel, then worked for a variety of law firms in Washington, D.C., retiring a second time in 1992. Warren Schmitt, BBA’52, passed away Sept. 28, 2021. He had a 38-year career with Allstate Insurance Company that spanned five states. He retired as a director of information security in 1992. Thomas E. Burke, B.A.’53, passed away July 6, 2021. He was a resident partner of LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae’s London office before he retired.

was the pastor of Resurrection Parish in Cheektowaga, N.Y., retiring in 2009. William C. Johnston, B.A.’55, passed away Sept. 8, 2021. He was a hospital administrator. Joseph A. Abbass, B.A.’56, passed away July 28, 2021. He was founder of Abbass Food Market, Carthage, N.Y. Our condolences to his daughter, Ami Abbass, BFA’95. Our condolences to Hon. Jerome Gorski, B.A.’58, on the death of his brother, Dennis Gorski, who passed away July 4, 2021. Thomas P. Mulroy, B.S.’58, passed away Aug. 6, 2021. Donald K. Foley, B.S.’60, passed away Oct. 28, 2021. He had a 30-year career in management with NY Bell Telephone and spent the past nine years as a certified clinical medical assistant at Tennessee Valley Pain Management in Cleveland, Ohio.

William D. Burns Jr., B.A.’53, passed away Sept. 28, 2021. He served several years as vice president of legal affairs counsel for Guthrie Health System, Sayre, Pa.

Albert Jamberdino, B.A.’60, passed away Aug. 26, 2021. He directed the technical development of magnetic and optical mass data storage during his 40-year career with Griffiss Air Force Base and Rome Air Development Center in Rome, N.Y. Our condolences to his daughter, Jill (Jamberdino) Hays, B.A.’90.

Richard A. Miller, B.S.’53, passed away May 1, 2021. He retired from 3M Co. after a 37year career.

Brenda (Hahn) Maybury, B.S.’60, passed away May 14, 2021. She worked in hospice care until her retirement.

Col. (Ret.) George F. Crowe B.S.’54, passed away July 24, 2021. He retired from Moore Business Forms. Our condolences to his wife, Mary Ann (Kumro) Crowe, B.S.’55, and to his daughters, Margaret (Crowe) White, B.S.’85, M.S.’00, and Molly (Crowe) Grace, B.S.’93.

Patrick Sullivan, B.A.’60, passed away Aug. 4, 2021. He had a 40-year career in personnel management and job placement.

John C. Mahaney Jr., B.A.’54, passed away July 1, 2021. He was president and CEO of the Ohio Council of Retail Merchants from 1970 until his retirement in 2013, and then served as vice chairman. The Rev. Walter L. Matuszak, B.A.’54, SOLA’58, passed away Aug. 31, 2021. He

Charles H. Brandt Jr., B.A.’61, passed away July 11, 2021. He had a long career in finance with IBM. Our condolences to his wife, Patricia (Finn) Brandt, B.A.’60, and to his son, Thomas Brandt, B.S.’88. Eileen (Flanagan) Malecki, B.A.’61, passed away May 28, 2021. She worked as a volunteer coordinator at both Buffalo and Rochester Psychiatric Centers and director of volunteer services at Monroe Community Hospital and New York State Veterans’ Home in Batavia, N.Y.

James P. McCabe, ’63, passed away Sept. 15, 2021. He was former co-director of the Fordham University Libraries. John F. Kennedy, B.A.’65, passed away May 12, 2021. He was vice president of student life and dean of students at Dominican College in San Rafael, Calif., for nearly 30 years. Michael M. McMahon, B.A.’66, passed away Sept. 26, 2021. He was a microbiologist and in medical sales in New York and, for 25 years, he was a missionary in China as an English teacher. Rev. Michael A. Farano, M.S.’67, SOLA’68, passed away March 24, 2021. He served a number of assignments in the Diocese of Albany, including chancellor and vicar general. Elaine (Gonzalaz) Fenner, B.S.’67, passed away Oct. 7, 2021. She worked for Jennie Edmundson School of Nursing in Council Bluffs, Iowa, for more than 30 years as an instructor, head of Occupational Health Services and later, the Employee and Business Health Department. She also operated Elaine’s of New York, a catering service. John Dicky, M.A.’68, passed away Aug. 21, 2021. He was an engineer and division manager for Columbus McKinnon Corp., and prominent in engineering organizations on a state and national level. Colleen (Tylec) Lewandowski, B.S.’68, passed away May 7, 2020. She was a labor and delivery nurse at Medina Hospital, Medina, N.Y. Joseph J. McNulty, B.S.’68, passed away June 14, 2021. He served as a former executive director at the Helen Keller National Center, Sands Point, N.Y. Our condolences to his wife, Kathleen (Murray) McNulty, B.A.’70. Donnell J. Kelly, B.A.’69, passed away Oct. 31, 2021. He was a long-time employee of Kantus in Lewisburg Tenn. Our condolences to his daughter, Kathleen (Kelly) Agnello, B.S.’90. William H. Cassidy, B.S.’70, passed away Sept. 29, 2021. He was the owner and operator of Cassidy Funeral Home in Mineola, N.Y.



CATCHING UP Robert Cross, B.S.’70, passed away July 18, 2021. He retired as manager/job coach of the emergent work program for adults with disabilities at Crystal Run Village, Middletown, N.Y., in 2012. Our condolences to his wife, Alice (Shanahan) Cross, B.A.’70. Maryellen (Levan) DeReu, B.S.’70, passed away Dec. 25, 2020. She served in the healthcare industry as a registered nurse. James M. Sittnick, ’70, passed away May 29, 2021. Mona L. Devlin, B.S.’72, passed away Sept. 18, 2021. She taught elementary school in Tonawanda, Lockport, and Barker, N.Y. Dr. James L. Gyuricza, B.S.’72, passed away Sept. 5, 2021. He recently retired from his own dental practice in Virginia. Roy MacDonald, B.S.’72, passed away Oct. 26, 2021. He had a long career in sales with Alcon Chemical and Roberts Supply, then worked at Niagara Mohawk as a paralegal, retiring in 2000. Our condolences to his daughter, Kate (MacDonald) Ryan, B.S.’06. James B. Salada Jr., B.A.’72, passed away Aug. 30, 2021. He was employed by Newkirk Products, Inc., a publishing company in Albany, N.Y., as senior vice president, technical editor, and in-house counsel, until his retirement. Lynn A. Williams, B.S.’72, passed away July 22, 2021. He was a chemist at Occidental Chemical for more than 30 years and retired from PD Glycol in Beaumont, Texas, in 2003. Joan E. Arslanian, B.S.’73, passed away Jan. 8, 2021. She worked as a dialysis nurse practitioner for more than 35 years at New York Presbyterian Queens and was the author of journal articles in the areas of nephrology and dialysis. Leo J. Futia, B.S.’73, passed away on Sept. 18, 2021. He owned and operated Tax Professionals Plus in Tallmadge, Ohio, for 24 years. Our condolences to Thomas Grover, B.S.’73, on the death of his daughter, Claire Grover, who passed away Nov. 5, 2021.

28 Niagara University

Our condolences to Mark McDermott, B.S.’73, on the death of his father, James McDermott, who passed away Sept. 24, 2021. Timothy J. O’Sullivan, B.A.’73, passed away July 11, 2021. He was a Geico insurance executive for 35 years. William J. Burke, B.S.’75, passed away April 19, 2021. Our condolences to William Carroll, B.S.’75, Timothy Carroll, B.A.’ 84, and Jacqueline (Carroll) Thorp, B.A.’87, on the death of their mother, JoAnn Hayden Carroll Rand, who passed away April 21, 2021. Dennis A. Covello, B.S.’75, passed away July 11, 2021. He practiced law for more than 40 years.

(L-r) Rick Hosmer, ’76, Bill Swartzman, ’76, Frank Wald, ’76, Tom Rolle, ‘75, and Chas Lauria, ’75, got together for lunch at Captain’s Restaurant & Marina in Buffalo, N.Y., in October, when Rick was visiting the area. Rick, Bill, and Frank were Chas and Tom’s little brothers during Orientation, which established friendships that span more than 45 years.

Stephen J. Adams, B.S.’78, passed away Sept. 24, 2021. He retired after a 30-year career in the real estate division of the New York State Department of Transportation. Stephen P. Bucelata, M.S.Ed.’78, passed away March 19, 2021. He taught high school history for 26 years in the Clark County School District in Las Vegas. Our condolences to John Dowd, B.S.’78, MBA’87; Stacey (Dowd) Allison, B.S.’78; Frank Dowd, MBA’83; and Michael Dowd, B.A.’85; on the death of their mother; and to Kathleen (Allen) Dowd, B.S.’78, on the death of her mother-in-law, Patricia C. Dowd, who passed away Sept. 19, 2021. Father Richard Samuel Rasch, O.De.M., B.S.’78, passed away Sept. 23, 2021. He served as associate pastor and pastor at several parishes in Ohio and Florida, was vicar provincial of the Vicariate of the United States for the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy, and was both a prison and hospital chaplain. Kenneth L. Binger, B.A.’79, passed away May 29, 2021. He worked as the marketing manager for the New Mexico Symphony Orchestra and later as the manager for the Phil Thomas Performing Arts Center in Shiprock, N.M.

The Norwich Career and Technical Education campus of the Delaware Chenango Madison Otsego BOCES was renamed in honor of Alan D. Pole, ’69 (pictured, second from left), in recognition of his leadership and foresight to upgrade the learning facilities that serve 16 school districts in the region. Pole served as a district superintendent with DCMO BOCES from July 1990 until his retirement in August 2008. He continues his affiliation with the organization as an educational consultant. Several members of Alan’s family—and NU alumni—attended the ceremony on June 18, 2021: (l-r) son, Stephen Pole, ’95; wife, Maryalice (Purik) Pole, ’69; son, Kevin Pole, ’98; and daughter, Lindsay (Pole) Blair, ’05. Not pictured are Stephen’s wife Colleen (Dee) Pole, ’95, and Alan’s niece Kelly (Crumb) Moran, ’00.

CATCHING UP Paul F. Kutlina, B.S.’80, passed away Sept. 8, 2021. He recently retired from the Department of Environmental Conservation. Our condolences to his brothers, Ludwig Kutlina, B.S.’76, and David Kutlina, B.S.’79, and to his sisters, Mary Kutlina, B.S.’85, M.S.Ed.’89, and Emma Kutlina, B.S.’98. Mark S. Amo, B.S.’83, passed away Aug. 9, 2021. Our condolences to Michele (McShane) Garcia, B.S.’84, B.A.’85, on the death of her father, John McShane, who passed away July 25, 2021. Our condolences to David Matthews, B.A.’87; Rosaleen (Matthews) Newcomb, B.S.’89; and Aideen (Matthews) Snell, B.A.’94, on the death of their father, James Matthews, who passed away Sept. 29, 2021. Our condolences to Christopher Montpetit, BFA’87, on the death of his mother, Claudette Montpetit, who passed away July 19, 2021. Emma (Carlson) Strough, B.S.’89, passed away June 12, 2021. She worked as a registered nurse until her retirement from the Niagara County Department of Health in 2001.

Eric W. Maska, B.A.’91, passed away Aug. 29, 2021. He worked as a letter carrier for USPS in Lockport, N.Y., for more than 21 years and was also an on-the-job instructor for several years. Doris Massey, MBA’91, passed away Dec.10, 2020. Kathleen (Tile) Arigoni, B.S.’95, passed away June 23, 2021. She retired from Niagara County as an administrative liaison in 2017. Douglas A. Cregar, BFA’96, passed away Sept. 26, 2021. He was president of the Harvard, Mass., Historical Society. Roman Gadzala, M.S.Ed.’02, passed away May 8, 2021. Our condolences to Claudette Walck, B.A.’02, M.S.’03, M.S.Ed.’05, MAIS’16, on the death of her father; and to Thomas P. Wilson, MBA’90, on the death of his brotherin-law, Wayne R. Walck, who passed away Oct. 7, 2021. Jonathan M. Wilson, B.S.’12, passed away Aug. 18, 2021. He was employed in the sales department at Artesian Pools and Spa, Bloomsburg, Pa.

Share Your News With Us! We’d love to know what’s new with you! Please use this form to submit your information for publication in the Eagle magazine. All information submitted for publication must be signed by the alum listed. Only information submitted on this form, via employers’ public relations departments, available in published articles, or emailed to Lisa McMahon, Eagle editor (lmcmahon@ will be considered for publication. Mail form to: Lisa McMahon Office of Public Relations Niagara University, N.Y. 14109 We also encourage you to send photos along with your note. Digital photos should be taken at the camera’s highest quality setting and emailed to with a brief description of the photo and the names and class years of the people in it. Due to the volume of submissions received, we cannot guarantee publication of class notes or photos in the Eagle magazine. Name (first, middle, maiden, married)

Class of


Career Notes/Retirement Update/ Community Service

Our condolences to Keith, B.S.’90, and Kris (Olsen) Reidell, B.S.’89, on the death of their son, Bryan Riedell, a member of NU’s Class of 2025, who passed away July 7, 2021.

Wedding Announcement Married to

NU Class of

Date of wedding

birth/adoption Announcement Birth/Adoption DOB Baby’s Name ❏ Daughter ❏ Son Jack Mumford, Gary Tobin, and Greg Hudecki were among the members of the Niagara University Class of 1968 alumni and their spouses who enjoyed an impromptu reunion in Saratoga, N.Y., in August 2021.


NU Class of



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