Four individuals were honored during Niagara University's annual Vincentian Heritage Convocation, held Sept. 29.
The event, which takes place during the university's celebration of Vincentian Heritage Week, recognizes the extraordinary contributions of university employees, alumni and community leaders.
Inducted into the Niagara Legacy Alumni of Distinction was Karen A. Ballard, Class of 1966, whose leadership in health care reform, combined with her ubiquitous promotion of the effectiveness of nurses on quality patient care, has prompted recognition from a number of institutions and organizations. For more than two decades, Ballard provided nursing care to children with psychiatric disorders as well as chronically- and terminally-ill children. Along with serving as an adjunct faculty member at PACE University and New York University, she has been involved in senior leadership positions with the New York State Nurses Association and the American Nurses Association. She is a member of numerous groups responsible for developing and evaluating policy related to HIV/AIDS, immunizations, mandatory reporting of child abuse, confidentiality of medical records and the impact of the environment on health.
The Rev. Michael Carroll, C.M. received an honorary Doctor of Sacred Theology for his dedication to serving the Congregation of the Mission since 1970 as well as for the tireless care and compassion that he has shown toward Catholic education. Carroll spent many years at St. John's University, during which time he served as executive vice president for mission and branch campuses and vice president of the university's campus in Rome. He also spearheaded the university's Vincentian Mission plan and certificate program. In 2008, he was recognized with an International Medal for his work on the institution's campus in Rome. Carroll was a member of the Provincial Council of the Congregation of the Mission from 1995 through 2004 and was once again asked to serve on the Council in January 2006. In 2008, Carroll was elected as provincial superior of the Eastern Province of the Congregation. That same year, Carroll began serving on Niagara University's board of trustees as vice chair.
Receiving the university's Vincentian Mission Award was Fred J. Heuer, '77, Niagara's assistant vice president of marketing. Between 1978 and 1999, Heuer held several marketing and customer service management positions with major firms in Buffalo and Chicago. From 1990 to 2000, he worked with Niagara's undergraduate and graduate students, serving as an adjunct marketing professor. Heuer rejoined Niagara full time when he was hired as assistant director of admissions and graduate recruitment in 1999. In the dozen years since, he has become an integral contributor to the university community. Heuer is involved with Niagara's EAGLE Leadership Series, its Live Music Series, the university's student-run radio station and has taught Niagara's freshmen orientation course for a decade. Outside of Niagara, Heuer serves as board chair for Stella Niagara's Center of Renewal, and belongs to the Lewiston Service Organization Committee and the Kiwanis Club of Lewiston.
Thomas M. McDermott, '62, '65, another recipient of the Vincentian Mission Award, accrued 45 years of service to Niagara University before retiring in May. McDermott, as director of counseling services, continuously honed his professional skills to most effectively assist students in need. He was already a nationally certified counselor when he became one of the first state-licensed mental health practitioners in New York in 2006. McDermott also holds certificates to practice several forms of specialized counseling and psychology. Additionally, as an adjunct professor in Niagara's College of Education for 20 years, he helped to coordinate the New York State Certificate Exam and other forms of educational testing. Outside of Niagara, McDermott volunteers for several organizations, most notably the Niagara County AIDS Task Force, from which he won an award for service in 1990.