Niagara University announced today a new endowed scholarship in recognition of former president Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M., and his lasting, positive impact on the school.
The Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M., Endowed Scholarship, announced during Niagara's President's Scholarship Dinner on Saturday, will be available to first-year NU students who live in a rural community from one of the eight counties that comprise the Western New York region. Until now, there have been no scholarships that specifically benefit NU students from this geographic area.
Three donors have already joined together to contribute a total of $350,000 to the Levesque scholarship fund. They are Denver-based CoBank; Bob Engel, the bank's CEO and a 1975 NU alumnus, along with his wife, Lynda; and Farm Credit East, one the bank's strategic partners headquartered in Enfield, Conn. The ultimate goal for the scholarship fund is to raise at least $500,000.
"Many fellow alumni and friends have expressed to me a strong desire to pay tribute to Father Levesque as a religious leader, educator, administrator and mentor," stated Engel, who also sits on Niagara's board of trustees. "As CEO of CoBank, a mission-based lender dedicated to supporting rural America, I am so pleased to honor Father Levesque and, at the same time, create opportunities for deserving students from rural areas to experience all that Niagara University has to offer."
"We are pleased to join CoBank in this worthy effort to encourage rural students to further their education at Niagara University," said Bill Lipinski, Farm Credit East CEO. "The educational programs available at Niagara University create unique opportunities for students seeking to be successful in an increasingly competitive global economy."
The first scholarship is set to be awarded for the fall semester of 2016.
Levesque became the 25th president of Niagara University in January 2000. His 13 years of service make him the fourth longest-tenured president in the long history of the institution. Under Levesque's leadership, Niagara experienced a continuous process of transformation that significantly developed the physical character of the university's campus and its 21st century approach to teaching and learning. Levesque stepped away from the president's office on July 31, and is currently serving as interim president of St. John's University.
Engel earned a bachelor's degree in accounting from Niagara University in 1975, and was later awarded an honorary doctorate in 2006. Prior to joining CoBank in 2000, Engel was chief banking officer at HSBC Bank USA in New York. He has more than 25 years of banking experience and eight years of accounting experience, including an agribusiness specialization, with the firms of KPMG and Deloitte & Touche.
Those interested in contributing to the Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M., Endowed Scholarship are encouraged to contact Niagara University's Office of Institutional Advancement at 716-286-8791.