In January, Niagara University celebrated the two-year anniversary of its permanent location in Vaughan, Ontario, a collaboration that has strengthened Niagara’s binational presence, given students and alumni a place to call their Niagara University home, and continued the 37-year legacy of Niagara alumni who take on levels of leadership across all professions in Canada.

“Two years ago, Niagara University became a permanent part of the Vaughan community,” said the Rev. James Maher, C.M., Niagara University president. “This partnership enables us to better serve the students who will become Ontario’s future teachers, educational and business leaders, as well as create seamless pathways for students to complete master’s degrees in critical industries of growth regionally and nationally. The continuing collaboration with Mayor Bevilacqua and the City of Vaughan has reinforced our commitment to build and sustain our cross-border community; to support a new generation of compassionate, dedicated, and successful graduates; and to become the premier binational university within the Province of Ontario.”

Initially offering Bachelor of Professional Studies and Master of Science in Educational Leadership programs, course offerings were expanded in fall 2020 with the addition of master’s degree programs in business administration, finance, and information security and digital forensics, areas that align with the opportunities that are available regionally and nationally. 

To provide comprehensive and seamless pathways into these programs, which were established with consent from the Ontario Ministry of Colleges and Universities, partnerships with 10 area colleges were created, enabling students who complete certain degree programs to easily transfer their credits. Niagara is also continuing to expand its reach as, earlier this month, it received approval from the Ontario Ministry of Education to accept international students in the province. 

In alignment with its mission, Niagara University’s Vaughan site introduced a speaker series to address critical community issues of social injustice and inequality, offering 15 presentations on a variety of topics. The university also hosted a webinar addressing why women remain dramatically under-represented at the top of corporate Canada and what can be done about it. The event celebrated the launching of the book “The Invisible Rules: What’s really holding women back in business and how to fix it,” authored by Dr. Paul Harrietha, chair of Niagara University in Ontario’s board of advisors, and Dr. Holly Catalfamo, adjunct professor in Niagara’s doctoral program in leadership and policy. It featured a panel of female leaders that included Christine Magee, co-founder and executive chair of Sleep Country Canada; Michelle Banik, corporate director and former chief people officer at OMERS; Zabeen Hirji, executive advisor at Deloitte and former CHRO of Royal Bank; and Diana Isaac, partner at Shulman and Partners, LLP.

Niagara’s location on the No. 13-Toronto Purchase Treaty Lands, the Territory of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, and Traditional Territory of the Huron-Wendat and Haudenosaunee has presented opportunities to collaborate with its Indigenous neighbors to host events like the Ontario Indigenous Education Series, six virtual workshops for educators presented through a variety of Indigenous voices. 

Niagara’s influence in the Ontario region is also strengthened through its partnership with the Vaughan Chamber of Commerce. In addition to co-sponsoring events like the Women to Women Symposium, the university is actively involved with the chamber to provide experiential opportunities for its students, as well as support the local business community.

“An area of focus at Niagara University is to build partnerships and to identify and develop sustainable programs that meet the needs of our community,” said Dr. Vince Rinaldo, vice president, Ontario Administration. “I look forward to continuing to work with the City of Vaughan to develop opportunities that make a positive contribution to the economic development of the city and that positively impact or influence the lives of families in Vaughan.”

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