State Sen. George Maziarz, a member of the Niagara University Class of 1976, was presented with the St. Vincent de Paul Award from his alma mater during commencement services this past weekend.
In presenting the award, the Rev. Joseph Levesque, C.M., Niagara University president, highlighted Maziarz' exemplification of Vincentian ideals. He remarked, "Today, we recognize the ability of one man to inspire so much positive change in the Western New York community."
The award cited several of Maziarz' legislative accomplishments, including helping to develop a sex offender registry under Megan's Law, protecting senior citizens through the Assisted Living Reform Act, and facilitating Nik Wallenda's high-wire walk across Niagara Falls in the summer of 2012, which put the Niagara Region in the international spotlight. The award also referenced Maziarz' active involvement in community affairs, particularly his past role in organizing the Canal Fest of the Tonawandas and leading the board of directors of the Chamber of Commerce of the Tonawandas.
"I am truly humbled and surprised to receive this award," Maziarz said. "I have always worked hard to serve the public and make Niagara University proud. It's a great college and it gave me a great foundation for my career. I sincerely thank Father Levesque, whom I have known for many years, and the college for this tremendous honor."
Niagara University's St. Vincent de Paul Award is conferred upon individuals "whose vision, accomplishments, and good works reflect the life and ministry of St. Vincent de Paul."
Vincentian priests founded Niagara University in 1856.