We must reignite a campus beacon that promises opportunity, hope, and home to our campus community, as well as stability, leadership, and progress to communities beyond. In all of this, we must be resilient in our obligation to prioritize health and safety.
A Letter from the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M. — President of Niagara University
"Trials bear the special mark of God's goodness"
St. Vincent de Paul, III:120
Dear members of the Niagara University community,
The spring semester at Niagara University (in Lewiston and in Vaughan, Ontario) and on campuses across the world, was one of unprecedented change due to the impact of COVID-19. During this time of planning, we look to our Catholic and Vincentian heritage to help us answer the Vincentian question-- “What must be done?” We must sustain our core mission and emphasize our distinction as a place of connection, sharing, and scholarship that depends on the unique interrelationships fostered by a campus-based experience. We must reignite a campus beacon that promises opportunity, hope, and home to our campus community, as well as stability, leadership, and progress to communities beyond. In all of this, we must be resilient in our obligation to prioritize health and safety.
Reopening institutions of higher education in a predominately face-to-face format is, and must remain, a priority regionally and statewide. Now, more than ever, the world needs critical, compassionate thinkers, educated professionals and researchers, and values-based decision-makers. We need to ensure full access and equity for all members of our community, particularly those most in need, who are experiencing a profound divide that has become even more pronounced as a result of the pandemic.
As a Catholic and Vincentian university, our focus on academic excellence, student engagement, and preparing global citizens of the world is unwavering. Niagara University’s values and mission anchor and will elevate our students into much needed leadership roles. We contribute to the community in pursuit of social justice, we drive change through the impactful service of our students, and we add significantly to the economic foundation of the region. A reopened, reimagined, and engaged Niagara University does this and so much more.
Throughout these extraordinary times, I remain humbled by the kindness of our entire community. I am proud of our students, faculty, staff, administration, and alumni for their inspiring innovation, commitment to others, and engagement within the broader community. We have answered the call to live the Vincentian mission. As we come together this fall, there will be new expectations in terms of community norms and personal responsibility. My expectation is that every member of the Niagara family willingly adjusts their behavior to maintain the health and safety of our community.
On behalf of the university community, I thank the members of the Restart Implementation Task Force for their work. Collectively, we will lead Niagara’s next phase in the history of our binational university and continue to ensure the transformational experience and impact of our graduates. With guidance from leading health organizations and elected officials, the health and safety of the Niagara community are fully integrated into all components of the restart plan. It is with confidence and purpose, therefore, that we welcome our new and returning students back to a safe and resilient campus in fall 2020.
With hope and prayer for the Niagara community,
James J. Maher, C.M.