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Niagara University is a Roman Catholic university in the Vincentian tradition, located in the Town of Lewiston in Niagara County, New Yorkmarker. Originally founded by the Congregation of the Mission in 1856 as Our Lady of Angels Seminary, it became Niagara University in 1883. The University is still run by the Vincentian Fathers. All of Niagara's 25 presidents, including its current president, Father Joseph L. Levesque, C.M., have been Vincentian priests.

Niagara has 3,200 undergraduate students in 50 academic programs. Approximately half of the students are residents, while the other half commutes from the surrounding area. The college is known as a liberal arts school, but offers programs in technical and pre-professional disciplines as well.


College of Arts and Sciences

The College of Arts and Sciences forms the foundation of the Niagara University's curriculum and serves as the basis for its designation as a liberal arts college. All Niagara students complete a portion of their coursework in the College of Arts and Sciences, as numerous general education courses are housed within this unit.

A majority of Niagara's academic departments and faculty are housed within Arts and Sciences, including: Biochemistry/Chemistry, Biology/Life Sciences, Communications, Computer Science, Criminal Justice, English, History, International Studies, Liberal Arts, Mathematics, Modern Languages, Nursing, Political Science, Philosophy, Psychology, Religious Studies, Sociology, Social Sciences, Social Work, and Theater Studies.

The College of Arts and Sciences also offers Master's degrees in both Criminal Justice Administration and Interdisciplinary Studies.

On October 8, 2008, Niagara University announced that a $10 million gift, the largest gift in the university's history, had been made to the College of Arts and Sciences by B. Thomas Golisano, the CEO of Paychex and the owner of the Buffalo Sabres. The gift will fund a new science building, to be known as the B. Thomas Golisano Center for Science. The project is scheduled for completion by 2011.

College of Business

With programs in Accounting, Business Administration, and Commerce, the College of Business continues to enhance its academic standing at the local, regional, and national levels. Each year, students in the College of Business conduct tax return processing as a community service for area residents.

On January 23, 2006, the University announced a gift of $5 million from College of Business alumnus Gerald Bisgrove, Class of 1968. At the time, it was the largest single gift in Niagara's 150-year history. $4.5 million of this gift has been appropriated to expand the College of Business facilities. Groundbreaking occurred on this project in May 2006, and Bisgrove Hall was opened to the public in August 2007. The remainder of Mr. Bisgrove's gift will be allocated to academic scholarships in the College of Business.

College of Education

Niagara has a long-standing commitment to training teachers for K-12 schools. Education students major in the College of Education and choose a concentration in the College of Arts and Sciences. Student teaching takes place in area schools, many of which are located in rural or low-income urban districts.

College of Hospitality and Tourism Management

The College of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Niagara's newest, is an offshoot of earlier tourism programs at the university. The College includes course offerings on tourism, hotel, restaurant, recreation, and sports management. Many students supplement their classroom experience with internships in local hotels as well as luxury hotels around the world. In addition, the College boasts a popular study abroad program in Lake Como, Italy.

The College of Hospitality and Tourism Management is ranked 6th in the nation among hospitality programs. In recent years, graduates have a near-100% job placement rate. Faculty members come from around the world and most hold the terminal degree in their field. The College is located on the top floors of the newly-renovated St. Vincent's Hall, which features a modern hotel atrium and spectacular views of the Niagara River Gorge and Canada. However, beauty of the hall ought to not be the school's primary focus.

The College is also a founding member of The Leading Hotel Schools of the World, a partnership between 9 hotel schools around the world with The Leading Hotels of the World. This partnership allows Niagara Students the privilege of interning at one of Leadings 450 five star hotels around the world.

College of Nursing / Department of Nursing (New)

The College of Nursing, long a Niagara institution, graduated its last class in 2003. Although nursing alumni objected to the administration's decision to close the college, many remain active members of the alumni community and Niagara University Nursing Alumni Council(NUNAC).

In response to the chronic shortage of nurses, Niagara University recently created a new department of nursing in the College of Arts and Sciences to offer a Bachelor of Science completion program for nurses with an associate's degrees.

The new cohort Nursing program began in 2006 and offers a flexible degree-completion format for the working nurse, which builds upon the foundation gained in their associate and diploma programs. The program also works closely with the nursing alumni community.

Graduate Education

Niagara has an expanding graduate education program. Currently, master's degrees are offered in Business Administration, Criminal Justice Administration, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Education.

Continuing & Community Education

In the past five years, Niagara's renewed emphasis on community enrichment and regional development has produced a substantial increase in its continuing education offerings. Currently, over 1000 students register annually for online courses and certificate programs. In addition to biannual brochures distributed throughout the Niagara Frontier, the Continuing and Community Education website ( provides access to registration information online.

Student life


The Reserve Officers Training Corps of the Army has an award-winning unit at Niagara. ROTC students participate in regular university classes and majors, as well as military science instruction throughout their college careers. Each Thursday, cadets participate in military lab exercises and, by tradition, wear their army combat uniforms (ACU) to classes for the remainder of the day (completely optional). On Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings, ROTC students wake up early to participate in physical training exercises.

Community service

The Niagara University Community Action Program (NUCAP) and Learn & Serve Niagara are the lead offices for the university's renowned community service program. All Niagara students are encouraged to give back to their community by participating in the numerous NUCAP and Learn & Serve opportunities offered throughout the academic year. Many courses at Niagara include a service learning component as a part of the class curriculum. Generations of Niagara students have served as volunteers for area nursing homes, hospitals, and schools, the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association, and the Upper Mountain Volunteer Fire Company, among others.

Residence Life

Niagara University features 5 traditional residence halls as wells as 6 community houses called the Varsity Village as well as on campus student apartments. Traditional buildings include Seton, O’Shea, O’Donoughue, Lynch and Clet Halls.

Lynch Hall(coeducational by floor); a five floor building with one straight hallway on each floor accommodating rooms and common area facilities. Rooms are mostly single occupancy with a limited number of non-singles. The extra basement area of Lynch is a large lounge and game room.

O’Donoughue Hall(coeducational by floor with one coed floor); a four floor building with one straight hallway on each floor accommodating rooms and common area facilities. Rooms are mostly single occupancy with a few doubles.

Clet Hall(coeducational by floor); a four floor building with straight hallways making up three wings in a “U” shape. Common area facilities are located at the ends of the wings. Rooms are fashioned for single, double and triple occupancy. Location of Dining Commons and Theatre.

Varsity Village(male/female); consists of six separate houses (three for male students and three for female students) of two floors each. Common area facilities are located in each house and rooms are fashioned for single, double and triple occupancy. The majority of the spaces in "the village" are generally chosen by upperclassmen.

O'Shea Hall(coeducational by floor); a high rise building with seven floors set up in a rectangular fashion with common area facilities in the center of each floor. Rooms are fashioned for double occupancy. Location of some International and some athlete housing, as well as the Housing Office.

Seton Hall(coeducational by floor); a high rise building with seven floors set up in a rectangular fashion with common area facilities in the center of each floor. Rooms are fashioned for double and triple occupancy. Location of some athlete housing.

Apartments(coeducational building/single gender apartments); consists of six separate buildings of two floors each with eight 4-person apartments. Each apartment is fully furnished and contains all the amenities of an off campus apartment. Each individual bedroom contains a vanity with mirror, sink and cupboards. Apartments are available to juniors, seniors and graduate students only.

Campus activities

The Campus Activities office sponsors a limited selection of opportunities to get involved in campus life, including trips (mostly at additional costs), student government, and Greek life. During the winter months, activities can be few and far between. Currently, Delta Chi Epsilon and Tau Kappa Epsilon are the only active fraternities on the Niagara campus and there are two active national sororities, Alpha Sigma Alpha and Phi Sigma Sigma.

The Niagara Index

The Niagara Index, originally called the Niagara Tribute, is the school's newspaper. The first issue of the Tribute was published on January 1, 1870, making it the third oldest sporadically-published college newspaper in the United States. The next year, the Tribute was renamed the Index Niagarensis, Latin for its current title, which was adopted on December 15, 1874. The Index's founder and original editor was Fr. John W. Hickey, C.M.


Currently, Niagara's radio station is going through a major change. Its name has changed from WRNU to WNIA. It is currently streaming online at as well as on campus channel twenty. It will have a mix music format and will also have sports and other shows available for listening.


General Manager & News Director: Geoff Redick

Programming Manager: Jessica Garfinkel

Production Manager: Kristen McAuley

Sports Director: EJ Giacomini

Promotions Manager: Cathryn Mason

Web Manager: Dan Chesebro

Faculty Advisor: Fred Heuer


The Niagara University Athletics Department sponsors 18 Division I sports. The Purple Eagles compete in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) in all sports except ice hockey. Both the men's and women's teams compete in College Hockey America, however, the men's team is moving to Atlantic Hockey in 2010. The athletics director is Ed McLaughlin.

Niagara's athletic teams have fared well in the 21st Century. The men's basketball team won the MAAC Championship in 2005 and in 2007, earning automatic bids to the NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Championship, known colloquially as the "Big Dance". Niagara's first appearance in the Dance came in 1970, when All-American Calvin Murphy led the Purple Eagles to the Sweet Sixteen. On March 13, 2007, Niagara defeated Florida A&Mmarker 77-69 in the so-called "Play-In Game".

The men's hockey team won the College Hockey America Championship in 2000, 2004 and 2008, appearing in the NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Championship those years. In 2000, the "Purps" upset the University of New Hampshiremarker to advance to the Elite Eight. Two years later, the women's hockey team shocked the college hockey world by advancing to the Frozen Four, eventually tying the University of Minnesotamarker in the third-place game.

Three other Niagara teams have advanced to the NCAA Tournament in their respective sports: softball (1998); women's soccer (2006); and women's tennis (2003 & 2005).

The Athletics Department also operates the Kiernan Center—Niagara's on-campus fitness facility—and sponsors a comprehensive slate of intramural sports, including basketball, broomball, flag football, indoor soccer, softball, street hockey, and rugby union.


While Niagara has had success in athletics, it has also had its share of controversies.

In 2006, 6 members of the men's basketball team were connected to an assault on a fellow Niagara athlete.

Also in 2006, Niagara's women's lacrosse team were involved in a hazing incident, in which new team members participated in underage drinking.

Notable alumni


  1. Niagara Men's Hockey To Join Atlantic Hockey

External links

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