Niagara University announced today it received a $1 million gift from the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission, which will be used to establish an endowed scholarship fund.
The fund will help NU recognize and offer new scholarships to incoming students who are in good academic standing and have demonstrated an affinity to the university's Catholic and Vincentian mission through outstanding participation in service activities in high school.
The scholarship also is available for incoming freshmen or current NU students who are part of the international Vincentian community.
NU held a special Mass and reception Tuesday to thank the Vincentian community for their service and generosity.
"This is a wonderful day for Niagara University and the eternal mission of St. Vincent de Paul," said the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M, president of NU. "We are tremendously grateful to the Vincentian community for their generous service offered throughout the life of Niagara University and, of course, for making this gift that supports increased student access to a comprehensive education, grounded in the Catholic and Vincentian tradition."
Maher has made access and affordability to excellent education hallmarks of his second year as president of Niagara University.
Proceeds for the gift were generated from the sale of a Vincentian retreat house in Michigan.
"The Vincentians are a worldwide community of priests and brothers and many of these missionaries look to study in the USA," said the Very Rev. Michael Carroll, C.M., provincial of the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission, a 1973 Niagara University graduate and vice chair its board of trustees. "These new scholarships will provide that opportunity for Vincentians throughout the world to join the learning community at Niagara as well as provide opportunities for undergraduate students to further understand the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul. All of this is reason to celebrate."
A portion of the gift will be made available immediately to new Niagara University students in two forms:
•Vincentian Heritage Grant: Awarded to students from Catholic high schools based on financial need.
•St. Vincent de Paul Medals: Awarded to students from Catholic high schools who meet defined academic criteria and have distinguished themselves for service/leadership within their communities. The medal recipients will be selected by high school guidance counselors at the schools in conjunction with Niagara University's office of admissions.
During the first year of the program, NU plans to award two sets of St. Vincent de Paul Medals to students attending area Catholic high schools. The first will be awarded to accepted seniors who meet the aforementioned criteria, while the other will go to juniors so as to coincide with their respective high school award ceremonies. In the future, the plan is to present the award exclusively to juniors.
"The Most Rev. John Timon, C.M., the first bishop of Buffalo, was the leading force in the establishment and growth of Catholic education in Western New York, including the founding of Niagara University with his confreres from the Vincentian community," said the Most Rev. Richard J. Malone, bishop of Buffalo. "Today, nearly 160 years later, the Vincentian fathers and brothers, are again reaffirming their commitment to Niagara University and Catholic education in Western New York through this generous gift for students coming from Catholic high schools.
"As we celebrate Catholic Schools Week, I would like to extend my appreciation to the Congregation of the Mission for taking a leadership role in the continued support and education of students in our community."
Niagara University was founded in 1856 by two Vincentians priests, Father Timon, C.M., and Father John J. Lynch, C.M. Throughout its long history, Niagara has remained true to the Vincentian principles of preparing students for personal and professional success while remaining committed to the values of its namesake, St. Vincent de Paul, as well as to its Catholic heritage.
There are currently seven Vincentians priests, including Maher, and one brother residing on the university's campus.
The Congregation of the Mission celebrated the anniversary of its founding with a feast day Sunday.
Questions about the scholarships can be addressed to the office of admissions at 716-286-8700 or [email protected].
To learn more about Niagara University, visit www.niagara.edu.