NU rising junior Ena Das; Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., Niagara University president; Jeffrey R. Holzschuh, ’82, campaign chairman; Jaclyn Rossi Drozd, ’08, M.S.Ed. ’10, vice president of institutional advancement; and rising junior Althea Simmons shared their thoughts at the campaign announcement on May 16, 2024.

Niagara University is pleased to announce the successful completion of the largest and most impactful philanthropic campaign in its 166-year history. “Powering Transformation: The Campaign for Niagara University,” has raised more than $130 million dollars, exceeding its goal of $125 million. Highlights from the presentation are available online.

“As we celebrate this historic event for Niagara University, we look to the source of our inspiration, the patron of Niagara University, St. Vincent de Paul, a 17th century French Catholic priest, the founder of the Vincentian community,” said the Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., Niagara University president. “We have much to be proud of and celebrate. We are building a culture of philanthropic giving at NU; when our mission meets your generosity, God is able to multiply our good works and impact.”

In the eight years since “Powering Transformation” was launched, significant academic, capital, and programmatic initiatives have been completed in alignment with the campaign’s priority areas:

Academic Excellence

Endowed positions in chemistry, professional ethics, pre-professional health, food industry innovation and supply chain excellence, race equality and mission, and theatre and vocal performance were created, and the university’s College of Nursing was re-established.

Niagara University also instituted a biomedical science research lab on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus, with a focus on STEM research, and partnered with the Buffalo Sabres to launch the Sabres Scholars, which provides students unique access and mentorship from the leadership team with the Sabres, LECOM Harborcenter, and other sport and hospitality venues in Western New York.

Student Engagement

An $11.5 million renovation of the Kiernan Recreation Center and the creation of a state-of-the-art sports lounge, Esports gaming area, and other collaborative opportunities on campus have enriched the living-learning environment for students.

The work of the Office of Career Services in facilitating crucial internship opportunities has been supported by a $3.5 million gift from William, ’61, ’07 (Hon.) and Nancy Gacioch, which provides students with the opportunity to receive a stipend when they work in an unpaid internship.

Binational University

Niagara University’s campus in Vaughan, Ontario, which was established in 2019, is undergoing an 18,000-square-foot expansion, increasing the space to 30,000 square feet. The addition of state-of-the-art classrooms, expanded spaces for collaboration, student lounge areas, and faculty offices will further elevate Niagara’s presence as a binational university in the United States and Canada.

Student Support and Scholarships

Campaign chairman Jeffrey R. Holzschuh, ’82, and his wife, Mary Helen, became the largest benefactors in the history of the university with their gift of $10 million, which supports the university’s Trustee Scholarship Program for business and nursing students.

In addition, the Lois Lyon Brennan Scholars program, which enables talented, high-achieving students from under-resourced communities the opportunity to access Niagara’s transformational education, was established through a $5 million gift from Edward, ’78, and Deborah Brennan, and more than $30 million has been pledged in current-use and endowed scholarships to support students in every program at the university.

By the Numbers

More than 9,400 individuals have contributed to “Powering Transformation,” including 32 gifts of $1 million or more, 106 gifts of $100,000 or more, and 162 gifts of at least $25,000. Those donors spanned classes from 1938 to 2027, and hail from nearly all 50 states; the District of Columbia; Ontario, Canada; and the Virgin Islands.

“With this generous support, we have touched over 400 areas of our university community, from scholarships to faculty research initiatives, from campus facility enhancements to experiential opportunities for our students. These contributions are investments in the future of education, innovation, and progress,” said Jaclyn Rossi Drozd, ’08, M.S.Ed. ’10, vice president of institutional advancement. “Today, we celebrate not just the completion of a campaign, but the beginning of a new chapter—a chapter filled with promise, with potential, and with endless possibilities.”

“When we embarked on this journey in early 2017 and set a goal of $125 million, we knew it would be a challenge. Yet, it was a challenge worth pursuing because of what it represented—a commitment to excellence, to innovation, and to the future of Niagara University,” said Holzschuh. “Our alumni and friends believe in the mission of Niagara University, and their support has enabled us to surpass every expectation, every challenge, and every obstacle. It is because of their commitment that we stand here today, celebrating this momentous achievement.”