Niagara University

Niagara University (NU) is a private, Catholic university in the Vincentian tradition in Lewiston in Niagara County, New York. It is run by the Congregation of the Mission. Niagara has 3,300 undergraduate students in 50 academic programs. Approximately half of the students are residents while the other half commute from the surrounding area. The college is known as a liberal arts school but offers programs in technical and pre-professional disciplines as well. It was listed as a census-designated place in 2020.[5]

Niagara University
MottoUt Omnes Te Cognoscant
Motto in English
That All May Know You
Established1856; 165 years ago (1856)
Religious affiliation
Endowment$97.2 million (2019)[1]
PresidentJames J. Maher
Academic staff
159 Full-time and 254 Part-time[2]
Location, ,
United States

43°08′17″N 79°02′13″W / 43.138°N 79.037°W / 43.138; -79.037Coordinates: 43°08′17″N 79°02′13″W / 43.138°N 79.037°W / 43.138; -79.037
ColorsPurple and White    
AthleticsNCAA Division IMAAC
   Atlantic Hockey (men's ice hockey)
NicknamePurple Eagles
Niagara University wordmark.svg
Niagara University sign.jpg

Niagara University also offers programs in Canada which operate under the written consent of the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities of Ontario. The Niagara University in Ontario, located in Vaughan, offers a Bachelor's degree in Professional Studies in Education program (accredited by the Ontario College of Teachers) and the Master of Science degree in Education.[6]


Founded by the Congregation of the Mission in 1856 as Our Lady of Angels Seminary, the school moved from Buffalo to its current location on May 1, 1857. After 26 years on its new campus, The College and Seminary of Our Lady of Angels officially changed its name to Niagara University on August 7, 1883. In 1887, the university opened a Law school in Buffalo, what is now the University at Buffalo Law School after being acquired by the University at Buffalo in 1891.[7]

The university is still run by the Vincentian Fathers. All of Niagara's 26 presidents, including its current president, Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., have been Vincentian priests.


In 2017, Niagara University was ranked #44 by U.S. News & World Report in the "Regional Universities North" category.[8] The magazine also ranked Niagara University 9th as the best value schools in the same category.[9] Taking into account educational quality, affordability, and alumni success, Money Magazine ranked Niagara University as the best college or university in the Buffalo-Niagara region in 2017 when it comes to delivering the most value for a student's educational dollar.[10][11] Kiplinger's Personal Finance ranked Niagara University #82 in the magazine's list of the 100 best values among private universities ahead of every other private institution in Western New York.[12][13]

U.S. News & World Report also has Niagara University as tied for 25th as the best colleges for veterans.[14]


Undergraduate students are able to choose an area of study in any of Niagara's four academic colleges. In addition to the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Business, College of Education, and the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management, NU's Academic Exploration Program allows first and second year students take courses in various departments before deciding on a major.

College of Arts and SciencesEdit

The College of Arts and Sciences forms the foundation of the Niagara University's curriculum and serves as the basis for its designation as a liberal arts college. All Niagara students complete a portion of their coursework in the College of Arts and Sciences, as numerous general education courses are housed within this unit.

A majority of Niagara's academic departments and faculty are housed within Arts and Sciences, including: Biochemistry/Chemistry, Biology/Life Sciences, Communications, Computer Science, Criminal Justice, English, History, International Studies, Liberal Arts, Mathematics, Modern Languages, Nursing, Political Science, Philosophy, Psychology, Religious Studies, Sociology, Social Sciences, Social Work, and Theater Studies.

In 2008, Niagara University announced that a $10 million gift, the largest gift in the university's history, had been made to the College of Arts and Sciences by B. Thomas Golisano, the CEO of Paychex and the former owner of the Buffalo Sabres.[15] The gift funded the construction of the B. Thomas Golisano Center for Integrated Sciences. The school broke ground on the center during the 2011-2012 school year and the 50,000 sq/ft facility opened in August 2013.

After the College of Nursing graduated its final class in 2003, Niagara created the Department of Nursing in the College of Arts and Sciences to offer an RN to BS in Nursing Completion Program. The program offers a flexible degree-completion format for the working nurse, which builds upon the foundation gained in their associate and diploma programs.

College of BusinessEdit

With programs in Accounting, Economics, Finance, Management, and Marketing, the College of Business continues to enhance its academic standing at the local, regional, and national levels. Each year, students in the College of Business conduct tax return processing as a community service for area residents. The College of Business is accredited by AACSB International[16] and has maintained accreditation since 2001.[17] As the longest serving global association dedicated to advancing management education worldwide, AACSB accredits 786 of the world's best business schools across 53 countries and territories.[18]

On January 23, 2006, the university announced a gift of $5 million from College of Business alumnus Gerald Bisgrove, Class of 1968. At the time, it was the largest single gift in Niagara's 150-year history. $4.5 million of this gift has been appropriated to expand the College of Business facilities. Groundbreaking occurred on this project in May 2006, and Bisgrove Hall was opened to the public in August 2007. The remainder of Mr. Bisgrove's gift will be allocated to academic scholarships in the College of Business.

College of EducationEdit

Niagara has a long-standing commitment to training teachers for K-12 schools. Education students major in the College of Education and can often specialize in a wide variety of concentrations. Student teaching takes place in area schools, many of which are located in local districts. Niagara offers programs in elementary education, middle childhood, and adolescent education, as well as programs in special education and TESOL or Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.

College of Hospitality and Tourism ManagementEdit

The College of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Niagara's newest, is an offshoot of earlier tourism programs at the university. The college includes course offerings on tourism, hotel, restaurant, recreation, and sports management. Many students supplement their classroom experience with internships in local hotels as well as hotels around the world. In addition, the college arranges study abroad programs in Lake Como, Italy; Cusco, Peru and Bad Honef, Germany.[citation needed]

The college is also a founding member of The Leading Hotel Schools of the World, a partnership between nine hotel schools around the world with The Leading Hotels of the World. This partnership allows Niagara students the privilege of interning at one of Leading's 450 five star hotels around the world.

The college has a partnership with Pegula Sports and Entertainment for students interested in marketing, hospitality, sports and entertainment. The college also owns and operates Niagara Power, a baseball team.

Graduate educationEdit

Niagara currently offers master's degrees in Business Administration, Counseling, Criminal Justice Administration, Education, Interdisciplinary Studies, and Sports Management. The university also launched a master's degree in Finance in 2014. The university's first doctoral program was launched in 2011 with the addition of a Ph.D. in Leadership and Policy to its academic offerings. In addition to the graduate programs offered on its American campus, NU's Masters in Educational Leadership is available on the satellite campus in Ontario, Canada.

Continuing educationEdit

In the past five years, Niagara's renewed emphasis on community enrichment and regional development has produced a substantial increase in its continuing education offerings. Currently, over 1000 students register annually for online courses and certificate programs. The Continuing Education division also coordinates the Niagara County Law Enforcement Academy for the county. This academy trains police officers as well as civilians who want to enter the law enforcement area.

Residence lifeEdit

A statue of St. Vincent de Paul talking to students, which is common to all Vincentian universities in the United States.

Niagara University features five traditional residence halls, as well as six community houses called the Varsity Village and on-campus student apartments. Traditional buildings include Clet, Lynch, O’Donoughue, O'Shea, and Seton Halls.

  • Lynch Hall (coeducational by floor); a five floor building with one straight hallway on each floor accommodating rooms and common area facilities. Rooms are mostly single occupancy with a limited number of non-singles. The dorm's basement features a large lounge and game room.
  • O’Donoughue Hall (coeducational by floor with one coed floor); a four floor building with one straight hallway on each floor accommodating rooms and common area facilities. Rooms are mostly single occupancy with a few doubles.
  • Clet Hall (coeducational by floor); a four floor building with straight hallways making up three wings in a “U” shape. Common area facilities are located at the ends of the wings. Rooms are fashioned for single, double and triple occupancy. The campus's Dining Commons and Theatre are located on the north side of the building.
  • Varsity Village (male/female); consists of six separate houses (three for male students and three for female students) of two floors each. Common area facilities are located in each house and rooms are fashioned for single, double and triple occupancy. The majority of the spaces in "the village" are generally chosen by upperclassmen.
  • O'Shea Hall (coeducational by floor); a high rise building with eight floors set up in a rectangular fashion with common area facilities in the center of each floor. Rooms are fashioned for double occupancy. Location of some International and some athlete housing, as well as the Housing Office.
  • Seton Hall (coeducational by floor); a high rise building with eight floors set up in a rectangular fashion with common area facilities in the center of each floor. Rooms are fashioned for double and triple occupancy. The dorm houses a number of student-athletes as well as the Academic Support and Career Services offices.
  • Apartments (coeducational building/single gender apartments); consists of six separate buildings of two floors each with eight 4-person apartments. Each apartment is fully furnished and contains all the amenities of an off campus apartment. Each individual bedroom contains a vanity with mirror, sink and cupboards. Apartments are available to juniors, seniors and graduate students only.


The Reserve Officers Training Corps of the Army has a unit at Niagara. ROTC students participate in regular university classes and majors, as well as military science instruction throughout their college careers. Each Tuesday and Thursday, cadets participate in military lab exercises and, by tradition, wear their army combat uniforms (ACU) to classes for the remainder of the day (completely optional). During the week, ROTC students wake up early every day to participate in grueling physical training exercises.

Campus activitiesEdit

The Campus Activities Office, along with the Niagara University Student Government Association, sponsors numerous opportunities to get involved in campus life, including concerts, comedians, and weekly late-night events. Currently Tau Kappa Epsilon is the only fraternity active on Niagara University's campus. There are also two active national sororities, Alpha Sigma Alpha and Phi Sigma Sigma. In addition to these, there are many clubs which celebrate and support cultural diversity, under the auspices of the Office of Multicultural Affairs.[19]

The Niagara IndexEdit

The Niagara Index, originally called the Niagara Tribute, was the school's newspaper, which ceased publication in 2012.[20] The first issue of the Tribute was published on January 1, 1870, making it the third oldest sporadically-published college newspaper in the United States at the time of its closure. The next year, the Tribute was renamed the Index Niagarensis, Latin for its current title, which was adopted on December 15, 1874. The Index's founder and original editor was Fr. John W. Hickey, C.M.


In the mid-2000s, Niagara's radio station became an internet-only broadcast, changing its name from WRNU to WNIA. The station, whose programming and staff is composed entirely of student DJs, features multiple genres of music as well as sports and talk shows.

Castellani Art MuseumEdit

The Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University is centrally located on the main campus and is Niagara County's only collecting museum. The museum features exhibitions of contemporary artists and traditional folk arts. The museum owns a permanent collection of over 5,700 art works, most of which are from the 19th-century, modern and contemporary art movements.

The Niagara University Fine Arts Program has studio and classroom space in the Museum for students. Docent and volunteer programs are offered to any interested member of the community. The bachelor's degree in Art History with Museum Studies has been offered since the fall of 2013, and is now one of the very few places in the country that offer Museum Studies at an undergraduate level.


The Niagara University Athletics Department sponsors 18 Division I sports. The Purple Eagles compete in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC) in all sports except ice hockey. The men's ice hockey team competes in Atlantic Hockey. Niagara named Simon Gray as its athletics director on May 16, 2014.

The men's basketball team won the MAAC Championship in 2005 and in 2007, earning automatic bids to the 2005 and 2007's NCAA tournaments, known colloquially as the "Big Dance". Niagara's first appearance in the Dance came in 1970, when All-American Calvin Murphy led the Purple Eagles to the Sweet Sixteen. On March 13, 2007, Niagara defeated Florida A&M 77-69 in the so-called "Play-In Game". NU was crowned the 2012-2013 MAAC regular season champions. This title earned them an automatic bid into the NIT where they faced the University of Maryland in the first round.

The men's hockey team won the College Hockey America Championship in 2000, 2004 and 2008, appearing in the NCAA Men's Ice Hockey Championship those years. In 2000, the "Purps" pulled an upset against University of New Hampshire to advance to the Elite Eight.

Two years later, the women's hockey team, under head coach Margot Page, shocked the college hockey world by advancing to the Frozen Four, eventually tying the University of Minnesota in the third-place game.

Five other Niagara teams have advanced to the NCAA Tournament in their respective sports: softball (1998); women's soccer (2006); women's tennis (2003 & 2005); Men's soccer (2012); women's volleyball (2009, 2010 & 2011).


During the 2019-2020 School Year, NU teams competed in Men's Baseball, Basketball, Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, Rugby, Soccer and Volleyball at the club level. Women teams competed in Basketball, Lacrosse, Rugby, Soccer, Softball, and Volleyball while Co-Ed teams competed in E-Sports, Field Hockey and Golf. Badminton, Roller Hockey, Running, and Tennis clubs have also been active on campus in prior years.[21]


The Athletics Department also operates the Kiernan Center – Niagara's on-campus fitness facility – and sponsors a comprehensive slate of intramural sports, including basketball, broomball, flag football, indoor soccer, softball, street hockey, and rugby union.

Community serviceEdit

The Niagara University Community Action Program (NUCAP) and Learn & Serve Niagara are the lead offices for the university's renowned community service program. All Niagara students are encouraged to give back to their community by participating in the numerous NUCAP and Learn & Serve opportunities offered throughout the academic year. Many courses at Niagara include a service learning component as a part of the class curriculum. Generations of Niagara students have served as volunteers for area nursing homes, hospitals, and schools, the American Red Cross, the American Heart Association, and the Upper Mountain Volunteer Fire Company, among others.

Notable alumniEdit

Niagara has approximately 40,000 living alumni worldwide. Niagara alumni are distinguishing themselves in the fields of academics, government, law, religion, and sports


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2019. "U.S. and Canadian 2019 NTSE Participating Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2019 Endowment Market Value, and Percentage Change in Market Value from FY18 to FY19 (Revised)". National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. Retrieved September 19, 2020.
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ "State of New York Census Designated Places - Current/BAS20 - Data as of January 1, 2019". Retrieved 2020-02-24.
  6. ^ "Niagara University campus opens doors to 300 students in Vaughan". 21 January 2019.
  7. ^ ""University at Buffalo Law School 100 Years: 1887–1987"".
  8. ^ "Ranking Indicators". Archived from the original on 2017-03-12.
  9. ^ "Best Value Schools". Archived from the original on 2017-03-12.
  10. ^ "NU News". Archived from the original on 2017-03-12.
  11. ^ "Money's Best Colleges".
  12. ^ "NU News". Archived from the original on 2017-03-12.
  13. ^ "Kiplinger's Best College Values".
  14. ^ "Best Colleges for Veterans". Archived from the original on 2017-03-12.
  15. ^ Rey, Jay (2008-10-08). "Golisano's $10 million gift to Niagara University largest in school's history". Buffalo News. Archived from the original on October 11, 2008. Retrieved 2007-10-08.
  16. ^ "Niagara University MBA".
  17. ^ "NU News". Archived from the original on 2017-03-12.
  18. ^ "AACSB".
  19. ^ University, Niagara. "Office of Multicultural Affairs".
  20. ^ "Home". Archived from the original on 2018-03-08. Retrieved 2018-11-08.
  21. ^

External linksEdit

  Media related to Niagara University at Wikimedia Commons