For just the second time in 36 years, Niagara University will hold its commencement ceremonies on Monteagle Ridge. Since moving graduation off-campus in 1976, in favor of more spacious locales such as the former Niagara Falls Convention Center and the University at Buffalo, the only time that commencement has occurred at NU was during its sesquicentennial in May 2006.
The university will schedule three commencement events - two for undergraduates - as a result of the change. All exercises will take place on the upper level of NU's Gallagher Center. Admission will be granted to ticketed guests only.
Tom Ashbrook, an award-winning journalist and host of National Public Radio's "On Point with Tom Ashbrook," will deliver the commencement address to Niagara's colleges of Business Administration and Hospitality & Tourism Management on Saturday, May 12, at 10 a.m. He and James Boldt, '73, chairman and CEO of Computer Task Group, will receive honorary degrees.
After spending 20 years as a foreign correspondent, newspaper editor and author, Ashbrook was brought to public radio for special coverage following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. His career as a journalist includes 10 years in Asia — based in India, Hong Kong and Japan — starting at the South China Morning Post, then as a correspondent for the Boston Globe. Ashbrook received the Livingston Prize for National Reporting and was a 1996 fellow at Harvard's Nieman Foundation before taking a four-year plunge into Internet entrepreneurship, chronicled in his book "The Leap: A Memoir of Love and Madness in the Internet Gold Rush."
At 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 12, Niagara's colleges of Arts & Sciences and Education will hear from Sylvia Nasar, the John S. and James L. Knight professor of Business Journalism at Columbia University who may be best known as the author of "A Beautiful Mind." Nasar and Robert Clune, Esq., a 1958 NU grad and managing partner of Williamson, Clune & Stevens, will be presented with honorary degrees.
Nasar's "A Beautiful Mind" inspired the Academy Award-winning movie and was translated into 30 languages. She was an economics correspondent for the New York Times and is the John S. and James L. Knight Professor of Business Journalism at Columbia University. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, Vanity Fair, Newsweek and other leading publications, and her new book is titled "Grand Pursuit: The Story of Economic Genius."
The keynote speaker for Niagara's graduate commencement exercises, scheduled for Sunday, May 13, at 11 a.m., will be Lloyd Robertson, the retired chief anchor and senior editor of "CTV National News with Lloyd Robertson." As host and chief correspondent for CTV's investigative news series, "W5," Robertson is still one of the most trusted faces in television news. One of the most accomplished journalists in North America, Robertson has been broadcasting for more than 50 years. In 1998, Robertson became a Member of the Order of Canada and, in 2007, was the first journalist inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame.
Mike Holmes, the host of "Holmes Inspection" and "Holmes on Homes" on HGTV, will join Robertson in receiving an honorary degree during graduate commencement. On HGTV, Holmes advises homeowners around the world on how to manage renovations, home repairs and maintenance. A contractor who knows the importance of resourcefulness and craftsmanship, his experience in new home construction and sustainable building has garnered him a growing fan base. In 2006, Holmes was recognized in Canada's House of Commons for his support toward improved building standards and skilled trades. That same year, he also launched a charitable foundation in Canada to support the training of youth in the skilled trades through apprenticeships and scholarships. In addition, Holmes and his crew built a remarkable sustainable and hurricane-resistant house in New Orleans as part of Brad Pitt's "Make It Right NOLA" project. Holmes also is the author of two successful books and writes a weekly newspaper column.
On Friday, May 11, Niagara will host a senior class brunch at 10 a.m. and a celebratory event at noon. At 4 p.m., a commencement liturgy will take place in the Alumni Chapel, followed by the senior class gala (5 p.m.) and the ROTC commissioning (7 p.m.).
For more information on Niagara University's 2012 commencement ceremonies, visit http://www.niagara.edu/commencement.