The Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., president of Niagara University, smiles with students and scholarship supporters.

Supporters, students, faculty, and staff came together for Niagara University’s annual Scholarship Celebration, held Saturday, April 22, in the Clet Hall Dining Commons.

Nearly 100 people were in attendance for the program, which included remarks from Danny Belmona, a junior pre-med student, Dr. Derek M. Wesley, vice president for institutional advancement, and the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., Niagara president.

During the 2015–2016 academic year, 98 percent of undergraduate students received scholarship assistance from the university that totaled nearly $44 million. The Scholarship Celebration recognized donors and families whose contributions named both current use and endowed scholarship funds at NU.

A video highlighting the DiChiara Family Scholarship introduced this year’s recipient, political science and environmental science major Ashley Morris. The video also highlighted previous recipient and current graduate student Ashley Smith. The fund was originally established in 1988 by Anthony, ’48, and Dr. Elizabeth DiChiara, ’50, in memory of their son, David DiChiara, ’84. The scholarship was revised in 2013 to also honor the memory of its original founder, Anthony, and his son, Joseph.

The award is for currently enrolled students at NU who are either a science major in the College of Arts and Sciences, or studying in the College of Education or College of Business Administration.

Sarah DiChiara, David’s sister, spoke about the decision to honor her brother’s legacy by creating a scholarship fund for Niagara University students in the family’s name.

“It makes us good as a family that we can help someone,” she said. “It’s important for individuals, if they have the opportunity, to do something like this, to try something like this. You start with something very small, and it’s incredible how it grows over time. We’ve had opportunities to build on this seed and it’s growing. You plant a tree and it grows; we feel like we’ve done that.”

A full listing of scholarships at Niagara University can be found online at

For information on establishing or contributing to a scholarship fund, please contact Shana DiCamillo at ude.aragain@ollimacids, or go to