Niagara University is a liberal arts university in the Vincentian and Catholic traditions. Basic to the academic, co-curricular and extracurricular programs at NU is the conviction that the students need, on the one hand, to be prepared for productive roles in society and, on the other, to be provided with the opportunity to fulfill their intellectual, physical, emotional and spiritual potential. The various colleges offer courses and directed experiences which equip students for a wide variety of professions and other careers. A broadly based, integrated program of liberal arts and sciences courses, supported by an array of extracurricular activities chosen for the wide variety of their appeal, is designed to supply holistic education.
Niagara recognizes its place in the local community and feels obligated to place its considerable facilities and resources at the disposal of neighboring groups and individuals, to whatever extent may be feasible. Thousands of people come to the campus annually to attend intercollegiate sporting events, theater performances and other cultural activities. Niagara participates in 18 NCAA Division I sports in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Its men's hockey team plays in the Atlantic Hockey Association.
Vincentian tradition gives Niagara University its unique identity. It was founded in 1856 by the Vincentian Fathers and Brothers, who take their name from their founder, Vincent de Paul. Vincent was a French priest who lived from 1581 to 1660. Vincent's special dedication was to the poor and helpless. Because of its Vincentian heritage, Niagara seeks to instill in its students a deep concern for the rights and dignity of the human person, especially for the poor, the suffering, the handicapped, and the outcast. This has been recognized by The Templeton Foundation, which numbered Niagara among 100 colleges and universities nationwide that were recognized for offering programs that inspire students to lead ethical and civic-minded lives.
Accreditations & Memberships
Niagara University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (3624 Market Street, 2nd Floor West, Philadelphia, PA 19104).
- The College of Business Administration holds the prestigious AACSB accreditation of The International Association for Management Education.
- The university's bachelor's and master's degree programs in education are accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.
- The College of Nursing is accredited by Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
- The department of chemistry has the approval of the American Chemical Society.
- The social work program is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education.
- The Institute of Travel, Hotel and Restaurant Administration is accredited by the Council on Hotel Restaurant and Institutional Education (CHRIE).
- The university holds membership in the American Council on Education, the Association of University Evening Colleges, the College Entrance Examination Board, the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities, the Council of Graduate Studies in the United States, the Middle Atlantic Association of Colleges of Business Administration, the American Library Association, and other organizations.
Niagara University was first chartered in 1861 as a seminary. In 1883, Niagara was chartered again as a university for "the instruction of youth in the learned languages and in the liberal and useful arts and sciences." Since its founding, NU has retained this tradition of emphasis on both the liberal and useful arts and sciences. It offers more than 80 degree programs through its five academic divisions. They include the colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, Hospitality and Tourism Management, and Nursing. The university's baccalaureate program in travel and tourism is the oldest in the nation, having been established in 1968. NU also maintains an Academic Exploration Program, which provides a learning environment for students who are undecided about a major. The academic year includes the fall and spring semesters, plus graduate and undergraduate summer sessions.
The university is located on Route 104 on the northern limits of the city of Niagara Falls. The 160-acre main campus runs along the top of picturesque Monteagle Ridge overlooking the Niagara River gorge just four miles north of the world-famous waterfalls. The location of the main campus, adjacent to the international border between the United States and Canada and relatively near the American and Canadian cities of Buffalo and Toronto, creates an international milieu.
The university is governed by a board of trustees of whom not more than one-third may be Vincentian priests. The president is the chief executive officer of the university. He is aided in administering the various colleges and schools within the university by an executive vice president and chief operating officer, the vice president for academic affairs, the vice president for student life, the vice president for administration and the vice president for university advancement. The deans and directors of each college coordinate the educational affairs of the various undergraduate and graduate programs. The goals of each college and school are in harmony with those of the university.
The undergraduate enrollment is approximately 3,300. An additional 850 students are enrolled in the graduate division. There are five residence halls, a group of four two-story houses and a six-unit apartment complex on the main campus. These facilities can accommodate over 1,400 students in the single, double and triple rooms. Niagara University's approximately 34,000 alumni have assumed positions in virtually every career area. Significant numbers of graduates are employed in the field of education as teachers, administrators and counselors. A large number of graduates pursue business careers in public accounting, sales, banking, management and computer science. Alumni are employed in the health care field in the practice of medicine and nursing, as well as in research. Alumni also establish careers in law, government service, military service, religious life or are self-employed.
The many and varied accomplishments of the alumni are a measure of the university's success in achieving its goal of career preparation. Among the more notable graduates are Frank Layden, former coach and president of the Utah Jazz; Hubie Brown, former coach of the NBA's New York Knicks and Memphis Grizzlies and well-known TV basketball analyst; the late Larry Costello, former professional basketball player and coach of the Milwaukee Bucks; and college All-America and NBA Hall-of-Fame member Calvin Murphy.
Niagara University maintains a close relationship with alumni through the publication of the alumni magazine, the Eagle. The magazine, which is published three times a year, keeps graduates informed about university activities through news and feature stories, as well as through a personal message from the university president. In addition, graduates are updated on the activities of their classmates through the "Alumni Notes" feature.
In addition to the students, more than 650 people teach and work on the Niagara campus. The number includes about 160 full-time faculty members. The university's economic impact is estimated at more than $207 million annually. Since 2000, the university has completed renovation and construction projects totaling more than $100 million.
The NU faculty and students work together as members of a community. The primacy of the student in the general plan of Vincentian education is a major concern. The reputation of a faculty is partly based on the number of invitations extended to its members from learned societies to present papers and participate in professional conferences. A significant number of Niagara University's full-time faculty are currently involved in presenting papers at conferences, receiving appointments to boards and panels, and publishing in reputable journals.
Facilities & Environment
The buildings on the main campus provide a pleasant contrast between the stately ivy-covered structures and those of more contemporary design. Classrooms are located in St. Vincent's, DePaul and Dunleavy halls. NU's laboratories for the behavioral sciences, natural sciences, nursing, communication studies, fine arts, and language are located in the Golisano Center, the Castellani Art Museum, DePaul, Dunleavy, and St. Vincent's halls. The laboratories provide a resource for students to engage in experimentation, practice and research based on the practical application of theoretical concepts learned in the classroom. The James H. Cummings Center for Biomedical Undergraduate Research was established with a $155,000 grant from the Cummings Foundation. Large areas of the 160-acre campus are available for outdoor sports such as football, soccer, baseball and softball. The hub of campus activity is the Gallagher Center, where students can gather in an atmosphere of relaxation. Many academic and administrative offices are located in this facility. A full-service snack bar, offering pizza, tacos, subs and burgers, and a separate café, featuring a range of coffees and teas, are open during the school year.
College of Nursing
The College of Nursing was reinstated in 2021, acknowledging and honoring a legacy of caring that has prepared thousands of alumni for careers in clinical practice, nursing education, and administration. Niagara’s nursing program maintains a state-of-the-art Nursing Simulation Center, which provides hands-on opportunities for students while supporting traditional classroom learning and clinical practice experiences, and a skills lab. Through local partnerships, the nursing program also enables registered nurses at these facilities to enroll as students to earn a bachelor of science in nursing degree.
Castellani Art Museum
Located in the center of the Niagara University campus, the Castellani Art Museum offers an exciting collection of 20th century and contemporary art, available to all Western New Yorkers as well as to the NU community at no admission charge. Exhibitions and programming include a special collection of Niagara Falls-related art, a traditional folk arts program, a public art project about the history of the Underground Railroad in Niagara County, and many other of ferings. Museum staff members teach fine art and art history courses in the well-equipped studio. NU students, faculty, and staff are invited to take part in a variety of lectures, performances, and exhibitions each year, as well as use the museum's multimedia Resource Center. There is a well-stocked and affordable museum shop which offers unusual merchandise from around the world as well as fine art books.
A 43,000-square-foot fitness and recreational facility, the Kiernan Center offers a six-lane swimming and diving pool, racquetball and multipurpose courts, gymnasium, Nautilus and cardiovascular area, weight room, saunas, and dance/aerobic area. The facilities are scheduled with priority use for NU students, but public memberships are also welcome.
Dwyer Arena/Gallagher Center
The Dwyer Ice Arena on campus is home to the men's varsity hockey team, club hockey team, and intramural broomball teams. Consisting of two full-sized (National Hockey League) rinks, the complex can accommodate some 1,800 spectators in the main arena and 200 in the auxiliary rink. The men's hockey team plays in the Atlantic Hockey Association. The arena is also home to a youth hockey league, which has a long-term contract for use of the facility.
The Gallagher Center can accommodate 2,400 persons for intercollegiate basketball games.
In addition to numerous scenic attractions associated with the falls, other important educational and cultural resources in the area include the Earl W. Brydges Artpark, The Buffalo Theater District, the Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, the Niagara Falls Little Theatre and the Albright-Knox Art Gallery. The Buffalo Bills of the National Football League, the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League and the Buffalo Bisons Triple-A baseball team are among the more prominent professional sports teams in the area. Niagara University is easily accessible via the New York State Thruway, and is centrally located for bus and airline transportation.