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Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., announces `Powering Transformation,` Niagara University's $125 million capital campaign. (Submitted photos)
Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., announces "Powering Transformation," Niagara University's $125 million capital campaign. (Submitted photos)

Niagara University launches $125 million campaign to elevate 'The Power of Niagara'


Fri, Sep 23rd 2022 01:55 pm

Submitted by Niagara University

Niagara University announced Thursday the public launch of the largest and most impactful philanthropic campaign in its 166-year history. “Powering Transformation: The Campaign for Niagara University,” seeks to raise $125 million by December 2023.

Aligned with the university’s strategic plan, “Powering Transformation” will provide the critical academic, capital and programmatic resources Niagara students need, while elevating the university’s commitment to advancing social change through higher education.

“The success of this ambitious campaign will support our vision for the future,” said the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., Niagara University president. “It will ensure that Niagara University continues to provide an outstanding living-learning environment grounded in service to develop mission-driven leaders who contribute in powerful ways to their communities and around the world.

“Our Catholic and Vincentian heritage calls us to go beyond the campus, as well, advocating for and facilitating social justice and fostering economic development with the community. This campaign will highlight the true potential of the power of Niagara.”

Niagara University’s “Powering Transformation” campaign will enable NU to not only compete in a changing academic environment, but also take the lead among its peers, while providing students with the confidence, clarity of direction, and a heightened sense of purpose to realize their full potential. The campaign focuses on six priority areas:

√ Elevating academic excellence and reputation through student-centered, collaborative, experiential and integrative approaches to learning in preparation for 21st century careers.

√ Cultivating a culture that fosters excellence in all our experiences, including development of the campus, support services, and technologies.

√ Advancing impactful collaborations that focus on mission and civic engagement to benefit the Greater Niagara Region and Niagara University.

√ Enhancing a diverse, inclusive, values-based learning environment designed to graduate global citizens and promote civil discourse.

√ Expanding Niagara University as the premier binational university within the Province of Ontario, Canada, through mission-based academic programs, improved branding, and the establishment of an Ontario NU campus.

√ Diversifying revenue generation and strengthen fiscal sustainability.

More than $103.5 million has been raised since the quiet phase of the campaign began June 1, 2016. This includes two $10 million gifts – the largest alumni gifts Niagara University has ever received – 23 individual seven-figure commitments, and nearly 8,000 contributors giving $5,000 or less.

Dr. Peggy Choong speaks about the transformational power of a Niagara University education.


Niagara University was awarded a $1 million Higher Education Capital Matching Grant (HECap) to kick-start upgrades and renovations to the Kiernan Center. The new Kiernan Center will be actively used by students, employees, alumni, and individuals from the community. The $11.5 million Kiernan Center renovation project is expected to be completed this fall.

Jeff and Mary Helen Holzschuh, both members of Niagara University’s Class of 1982, made a $10 million gift commitment to support the university’s trustee scholarship program for students in the Holzschuh College of Business Administration and the College of Nursing, as well as the men’s and women’s basketball programs.

“Niagara University is a special place for Mary Helen and me, and we are grateful for the experience of our Vincentian education,” said Holzschuh, who also serves as chair of the campaign. “We feel very fortunate to be able to share our experience and give back to support student scholarships for business and nursing students, as well as Purple Eagle student athletes.”

A $5 million gift from Niagara University alumnus Edward J. Brennan, ’78, and Deborah Brennan, established the Lois Lyon Brennan Scholars program to enable talented, high-achieving students from under-resourced communities the opportunity to access the transformational education that Niagara University provides. 

“Debbie and I are extremely pleased to build upon our mission of providing education to the underserved,” Brennan said. “The Lois Lyon Brennan scholarship program builds upon our commitment to helping the underserved. As an alumnus of Niagara University, I welcome the opportunity to bring our Vincentian values and inclusive excellence to high-achieving students who may not have this access to college and the engaging experience that leads to success.”

Jaclyn Rossi Drozd, ’08, M.S.Ed. ’10, vice president of institutional advancement, said, “As we have moved through the campaign, one thing has become abundantly clear: Our alumni and friends believe deeply in ‘The Power of Niagara University.’ Their support is transformational as we make improvements to facilities, enrich the academic programs, and enhance the overall living-learning environment of our students. As we move forward, we ask you to join our historic campaign, ‘Powering Transformation,’ for our students today, and for decades to come.”

Niagara University officials and Maher will be sharing the campaign vision with alumni and friends throughout the coming months at events in New York City, Philadelphia, Dallas, Rochester and Western New York. Other events will be scheduled across the country throughout the duration of the campaign.

For more information about this historic campaign, visit www.niagara.edu/poweringtransformation.

NUSGA President Ari Musialowski extends her gratitude to donors who make an NU education accessible for many students.


Founded by the Vincentian community in 1856, Niagara University is a comprehensive institution, blending the best of a liberal arts and professional education, grounded in our values-based Catholic tradition. Its colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Education, Hospitality, Sport and Tourism Management, and Nursing offer programs at the baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral levels.

As the first Vincentian university established in the U.S., Niagara prepares students for personal and professional success while emphasizing service to the community in honor of St. Vincent de Paul. Niagara’s institutional commitment to service-learning has led to its inclusion on the President’s Honor Roll for Community Service every year since its inception in 2006, and its recognition with the Carnegie Foundation’s Classification for Community Engagement.

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