Father Maher celebrated the official opening of the B. Thomas Golisano Center for Integrated Sciences with a speech titled "The Gift that Gives Unto Eternity." The historic event occurred at Niagara University on Oct. 9, 2013.
Thank you, Dave, and good afternoon.
It is my pleasure to welcome you on this historic day at Niagara University. It was in 1883 that the university from Monteagle Ridge began it first foray into the world of the medical and life sciences. It was that year that Niagara University founded a Medical College in Buffalo. In its 15-year history, the college graduated 137 medical doctors to serve the people of Western New York and beyond as healers in the tradition of St. Vincent de Paul.
From these early days, Niagara University would later give birth to a College of Nursing in 1946, and continue making an impact on the lives of people around the world. This medical and life science tradition represents the best of the infinite tradition of St. Vincent de Paul, seeking to fuse together faith, compassion and an abiding commitment of excellence woven together in the fabric of teaching, research and service.
As we gather today, we recognize those who have made this day and this beautiful building possible: Mr. Robert Dwyer, Chair Emeritus and National Chairman of “The Promise of Niagara,” and Marsha Joy Sullivan, Vice Chair of the Campaign and current Niagara Trustee.
Major donors and foundations who helped make this project possible include: Eugene and Connie Corasanti, the Margaret L. Wendt Foundation, The John R. Oishei Foundation and Pamela Jacobs-Vogt. Pam’s late husband, Dr. Larry Jacobs, has an area on the science center’s second floor dedicated to honoring his incredible scientific legacy.
This day would not be possible without the giant and gentle, persevering spirit of Father Joseph Levesque, who never gave up on his dream of constructing a state-of-the-art life science building for the students and faculty of Niagara University, one that would help NU serve the good people of the Western New York community. Father Levesque has given his life and priesthood to service. Welcome home, Joe.
It is with the deepest gratitude that we acknowledge the very generous gift of Thomas Golisano, a man of infinite ingenuity and creativity who has not simply given the gift of a state-of-the-art building, but has challenged us to be excellent in teaching, research and service in the life sciences. Even with this outstanding resource on our campus, we will not be singular contributors, we will continue to form critical partnerships to advance healing and health for the people of Western New York. We thank you, Mr. Golisano, and we embrace your challenge to be compassionate and excellent.
St. Vincent de Paul reminded the Vincentians and members of the Vincentian Family that God’s gifts are meant to make the most meaningful of impacts – advancing human health, development and claiming human dignity for the most vulnerable in our world.
What is the gift of this building? It will deepen partnerships between Niagara University and our great partners: Mount St. Mary’s Hospital, Niagara Falls Memorial Hospital, Hauptman-Woodward Medical Research Institute, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, and the University of Buffalo Medical School, to name a few, as well as other dynamic partners who will emerge.
The gift of this building will position Niagara University to make a significant contribution to the technology and medical corridor of Buffalo, poised to contribute to the economic engine of Western New York and the Buffalo billion. The gift of this building will attract top students and leading faculty to Niagara University to join a community of compassionate scholars.
The gift of this building will prepare Niagara faculty and students in the fields of chemistry and biology for impactful service in promoting, protecting and caring for the environment, and developing innovative and sustainable products with industry. It will help our university train the next generation of young minds to be our society’s teachers and educational leaders in the critical field of STEM education. Close to our Vincentian heart, it will also enable Niagara to open up the possibility of STEM education to the most educationally disadvantaged communities.
But this building’s greatest gift is to remind us that our most significant contribution in life is not what we build, but what we leave behind to grow.
That is the greatest gift… the gift that gives until eternity.
Thank you, Mr. Golisano, and to all who have made this day possible.
God bless Niagara University.