Dr. Thomas A. Chambers, professor of history at Niagara University, has been named to the Niagara Frontier State Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation Commission. New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo made the seven-year appointment, which was confirmed by the state Senate.
The regional commissions are charged with acting as a central advisory body on all matters affecting parks, recreation and historic preservation within their respective regions, with a particular focus on the operations of the state parks and historic sites.
The Niagara Frontier Region is comprised of 18 parks, including Reservoir State Park, which is adjacent to the Niagara University campus, and two historic sites. Approximately 11.7 million people visited Niagara Frontier Region parks in 2017.
Dr. Chambers, a Niagara Falls resident, noted that he has been asked to help develop connections between parks and academia that will lead to student service projects and internships. State Parks’ FORCES program seeks to engage college students in parks-based service projects that will lead to career development.
“This new role comes with an abundance of interesting potential for Niagara University students across all majors,” he said.
“Dr. Chambers deserves to be commended for this prestigious appointment, which will certainly present new opportunities for our students” said Dr. Timothy Ireland, Niagara University’s provost and vice president of academic affairs. “As a Catholic and Vincentian institution of higher education, we take great pride in offering our students a vast array of service-learning experiences that prepare them for careers, and Dr. Chambers’ role with state parks will do that at a very high level.”
Dr. Chambers has been a faculty member at Niagara University since 2003, and has also served for periods as NU’s associate vice president for academic affairs, faculty director of strategic enrollment management for graduate studies, history department chair, and director of its master’s program in interdisciplinary studies. He has published two books on New York state history, Memories of War: Visiting Battlegrounds and Bonefield in the Early American Republic and Drinking the Waters: Creating an American Leisure Class at Nineteenth-Century Mineral Springs, hosted the Conference on New York State History twice at Niagara University, and published numerous articles and reviews on the state’s history. Dr. Chambers was awarded three National Endowment for the Humanities Landmarks in American History and Culture grants. He is a Fellow of the New York Academy of History.
The Saratoga County, N.Y., native earned a bachelor’s degree in history from Middlebury College, and master’s and doctoral degrees from the College of William and Mary. He currently serves as president of the Niagara Falls National Heritage Area, an affiliate of the National Park Service that is developing heritage tourism in the Niagara region, and has served on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Path Through History Task Force and the State Historian’s War of 1812 Bicentennial working group.
To learn more about Niagara University’s history programs, please visit www.niagara.edu/history.