President's Dinner

Members of two prominent Western New York families will be honored at the annual Niagara University President's Dinner on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010, at the Seneca Niagara Casino Hotel Event Center in Niagara Falls, N.Y.

The Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M., will be recognized on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of his presidency at Niagara University.

Former Niagara University trustee Bill Gacioch, Derby, N.Y., a 1961 Niagara graduate, and his wife, Nancy, will receive the university’s St. Vincent de Paul Award which is conferred upon individuals “whose vision, accomplishments and good works reflect the life and ministry of St. Vincent de Paul.” The Gaciochs are known for their charitable endeavors, which include a $1 million gift to Niagara University in 1999.

Also receiving the St. Vincent de Paul Award will be the children of the late Harris and Mary Williams, business leaders in Niagara Falls who were instrumental in the founding of Our Lady of Lebanon Parish in that city. The Williams family members, Joseph, James (Harry), Francis, of the Niagara University Class of 1965, and Martha Williams Bennett, have followed in their parents’ footsteps in both their business entrepreneurship and charitable works in Western New York as well as in other locations.

Father Levesque, who served Niagara University from 1970 to 1986 as a faculty member and later as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences before accepting other assignments within the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission, returned to the university in 2000 when he was selected by university trustees to serve as the Niagara’s 25th president. Under his leadership, the university has experienced extensive expansion, including construction of new facilities, classroom space and a recently renovated theater. Throughout his time at Niagara University, Father Levesque has maintained a deep interest in the local community where he continues to be an active member of several civic organizations.

Jeff and Maureen (Hoag) Dann, 1974 graduates of Niagara University, are the chair couple for this year’s dinner. Jeff is also a member of the university’s board of advisors.

The “black tie preferred” event, which begins at 6 p.m. and includes the award presentations and dinner, benefits the university's scholarship program. Musical entertainment will be provided by the Bob Volkman Band.

Tickets for the President’s Dinner are $150 per person and may be reserved until Nov. 3, 2010, by contacting the university events office at 716.286.8779 or smo@niagara.edu. Tickets will not be available at the door.