Five individuals with ties to Niagara University are being honored during the Main Street Business and Professional Association’s Annual Awards Dinner on Nov. 15.
Dr. David Taylor, executive director of the Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M., Institute for Civic Engagement, will receive the President’s Distinguished Service Award. After 12 years as a criminology professor at NU, Dr. Taylor was appointed to his current position, which has him overseeing efforts to expand and enhance the university’s community partnerships and service-learning opportunities for students. Dr. Taylor has been a longtime supporter of Main St., having established NU’s first outreach office in a building previously occupied by Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center’s Outreach for Wellness Niagara (OWN) program. Later, Dr. Taylor played a part in bringing ReNU Niagara, one of the university’s primary outreach programs, back to the north end of the city (640 Park Place).
Senior Joseph Hotchkiss will be presented with the Michael A. Brundidge Community Service Award. After five years of service in the U.S. Coast Guard, Hotchkiss enrolled in Niagara County Community College, where he attained an A.S. in business administration. He is currently studying toward a B.S. in business management from NU. Inspired to community service by Niagara Professor Mitchell Alegre and Niagara Falls Councilwoman Kristen Grandinetti, Hotchkiss has been the driving force behind the revitalization of Hydraulic Park in the city’s tourism corridor.
Angel Awards will be given to senior Kayla Carrasquillo, 2013 NU master’s alumna Laurice Russell, and Mitchell Alegre, a faculty member in NU’s College of Business Administration and coordinator of the EAGLE program.
Carrasquillo is majoring in political science and international studies at NU, and has plans to advance her education after finishing her undergraduate studies. She played a major role in the day-to-day operation of this year’s Carolyn Van Schaik Memorial Golf Tournament, an event sponsored by the Main Street Business and Professional Association.
Russell attained a B.A. in American studies from the University at Buffalo, and then secured a master’s in interdisciplinary studies from Niagara in May 2013. Her coursework focused on nonprofit management and matters of social justice, and her capstone, “All Alone in the Garden: Rural Victims of Domestic Violence left Under-Served and Unprotected,” received the department’s Best Capstone Award. Meanwhile, Fuller Farm, an ongoing service project undertaken by Russell has supplied food pantries with nearly 1,000 pounds of locally grown, fresh fruits and vegetables. Russell also assisted in the operation of the Carolyn Van Schaik Memorial Golf Tournament.
Students in Alegre’s Principles of Management course recently assisted the Main Street Business and Professional Association in creating a marketing plan and developing various social media tools to promote its efforts. On campus, Alegre’s contributions as an adjunct faculty member have been recognized two years in a row by Niagara University’s Office of Multicultural & International Student Affairs, and the leadership program he designed for NU received the New York Leadership Educators Consortium Innovative Program Award. Alegre also received the NYLEC Tom Matthews Visionary Award for his contributions to leadership education, and he was the first to receive the Leadership Award from the Buffalo Chapter of the International Management Network.
The Main Street Business & Professional Association Annual Awards Dinner will be held at The Rapids Theatre on Main St. in Niagara Falls.
The Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M., Institute for Civic Engagement reinforces Niagara’s commitment to the region by strengthening and forming new town-gown relationships. The institute oversees Learn and Serve Niagara, Border Community SERVICE, ReNU Niagara and Sustainable Sandals, four of NU’s flagship community-minded programs, and collaborates with EAGLE Leadership to create meaningful service-learning opportunities for students.