Speakers for the 2014 Commencement ceremonies will be announced early in the spring semester.
Niagara University will hold three commencement events during commencement week – two for undergraduates – as well as a special liturgy and ROTC commissioning, all of which will take place on the upper level of the Gallagher Center. Admission will be granted to ticketed guests only.
Kenneth D. Taylor is the former Canadian ambassador to Iran who helped orchestrate the escape of six Americans from captivity during the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979. For his efforts, Taylor has received the United States Congressional Gold Medal, The Order of Canada and keys to the cities of New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Las Vegas and Dallas.
From 1998 to 2004, Taylor served as chancellor of Victoria University in The University of Toronto.
Taylor, a graduate of the University of Toronto (Victoria) and the University of California Berkeley, joined the Canadian Foreign Service in 1959.
Undergraduate Commencement - Colleges of Business and Hospitality/Tourism
Wallenda is the 7th generation member of the Great Wallendas. Every walk Wallenda does is in honor of his great-grandfather, Karl Wallenda, who died on the wire in 1978.
Wallenda has been performing on a highwire since before he was born when his mother (who still performs with him today) walked while she was six months pregnant with him. The Niagara Falls walk marked Nik's seventh world record.
Undergraduate Commencement - Colleges of Arts and Sciences and Education
The Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M., is the current president of Niagara University, a position he has held since January 2000. A native of North Tarrytown, N.Y., Father Levesque was ordained as a Vincentian priest in 1967. He received his doctoral degree from The Catholic University of America in 1977, and, in 1978, resumed teaching at Niagara, where he was also named dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and director of the college’s graduate division.
Father Levesque was elected provincial superior of the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission in 1990. He stepped down from the position in June of 1999 after the maximum nine-year term and subsequently assumed the presidency of Niagara University.
Under Father Levesque’s leadership, Niagara has experienced a continuous process of transformation that has significantly developed the physical character of the university’s campus and its 21st century approach to teaching and learning. Close to $100 million has been invested in new construction, renovation and improvement projects on Monteagle Ridge since the advent of his presidency.
Father Levesque served as chair of the boards of St. John’s University and Niagara University during his term as provincial. He was concurrently active in the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, a leadership organization that serves all male religious in the United States. He presently serves in a leadership capacity with the Buffalo Niagara Partnership, Christ the King Seminary (East Aurora, N.Y.), the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities, and the New York Campus Compact, among others.
At the conclusion of the academic year, Father Levesque will step down from his role as president, but remain at Niagara with the title of president emeritus.