The Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., president of Niagara University, and Dr. Daniel Patterson, president of Niagara College, shake hands after signing the MOU.

Niagara University (Lewiston, N.Y., USA) and Niagara College (Ontario, Canada) held a signing ceremony Oct. 16 to enter into a formal memorandum of understanding.

The MOU represents an international partnership that extends opportunities for higher education on a binational scale. The MOU was signed by the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., president of Niagara University, and Dr. Daniel Patterson, president of Niagara College. The signing took place in Bisgrove Hall on the Niagara University campus.

Friday’s MOU signing celebrated the partnership and expanded reciprocal relationships to serve a broader scope of academic disciplines, encourage binational research and promote collaborative programming. The institutions currently have articulation agreements in place that pertain to specific majors.

The agreement between the institutions calls for increased student pathways to degree completions and graduate credentials, the development of scholarship opportunities, advocacy for cross-border access and the investigation of simultaneous admission. The institutions also agreed to incubate an environment of faculty collaboration through professional development, the scholarship of teaching and learning, and joint research and innovation activities.

One of the primary objectives of the MOU is for Niagara University and Niagara College to take on a greater leadership role in knowledge sharing as a means to enhance the economic growth of the Niagara region on both sides of the international border.

“Education is at the center of what kind of region and what kind of country we’re going to have in the future,” stated Dr. Patterson. “Opening up new doors, new opportunities and new experiences for change-leaders, which is really at the heart of teaching and learning, will help us to create a more prosperous area.”

Niagara University, which has ramped up its recruitment of international students under Father Maher, presently enrolls more than 550 students from Ontario alone. Moving forward, the institutions plan to collaborate on global initiatives that create opportunities for domestic students to become “world-ready,” and enhance each institution’s reputation as a destination for international students.

“I believe that, as president, it’s my obligation to provide that global learning environment because that’s the world which is already here for our students,” Father Maher noted. “We want to create a laboratory of learning at Niagara University where students from all different backgrounds and all different walks of life can come together to share ideas and lend their unique perspectives on the world.”

During the ceremony, Father Maher and Dr. Patterson each thanked the Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M., president emeritus at Niagara University, and Dr. Bonnie Rose, who recently retired after serving for many years as the executive vice president at NU and on the Board of Governors at Niagara College. The leaders credited Father Levesque and Dr. Rose for laying the groundwork for the new agreement.

Photos by Jacquie DellaNeve, a junior communication studies major.