For the ninth year in a row, the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., president of Niagara University, has been named one of the region’s most influential leaders by Business First. Father Maher is listed at No. 81 in the weekly newspaper’s 10th annual “Power 250,” a list of the 250 men and women who, in the publication’s opinion, wield the most clout in the eight-county region. He has been included in the “Power 250” in each of his years as president at Niagara.

Father Maher has served as Niagara University’s 26th president since August 2013. His presidency has been distinguished by his ability as an inclusive and collaborative leader, as well as his work to advance the academic reputation of the university, create a more international and diverse campus community, and grow the university’s commitment to the revitalization of Niagara Falls and Western New York.

Father Maher established the Rose Bente Lee Ostapenko Center for Race, Equity and Mission and created the inaugural position of vice president for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion to advance the institution’s commitment to inclusive excellence. He was selected by Mayor Robert Restaino to serve as a member of his Niagara Falls Social Justice Commission to address inequality across a variety of platforms in the community. Several scholarship programs created under his leadership provide special opportunities for under-served students in Western New York.

He has also strengthened the town and gown relationship between the university and the region through programs such as the Niagara Global Tourism Institute’s TReC business incubator and the Levesque Institute for Civic Engagement’s work with the city’s South End Housing Initiative.

During the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, he was one of the educational leaders from across New York state, and the only college or university president from the Buffalo-Niagara region, chosen to work on a plan to reopen colleges and universities safely as a member of a task force established by the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities (CICU).

According to the Business First website, the “Power 250” is limited to persons who live and work in Western New York. It does not include owners of local businesses who live in other parts of America or the world.

To view this year’s “Power 250,” click here.