An experienced higher education and sports law professional has been named dean of Niagara University’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management.

Bridget Niland comes to NU from the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo/Project Play WNY, where she served as the director of Project Play Western New York, a collaborative effort with the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Youth Sports Initiative to provide children with the opportunity to live an active, healthy, and fun life through sports. While working on Project Play WNY, Niland continued her role as an associate professor of business administration at Daemen College, where she spent 15 years developing and expanding the college’s sport management specialization and overseeing the business law curriculum.

As a faculty member at Daemen College, Niland held various leadership positions, including the college’s program director for New York City business and accounting programs, director of athletics, and special assistant to the president. Prior to Daemen, Niland served as an adjunct instructor at Ball State University, Niagara University, and the State University of New York at Buffalo’s School of Law. Niland has also published and presented on a number of topics, including gambling and collegiate athletics, managing the maze in a pandemic for 2020 high school graduates, and gender in sport.

In addition to her experience at educational institutions, Niland worked as the assistant, and then associate director of academic and membership affairs for the NCAA. After leaving the NCAA, she continued to serve as a consultant for academic and membership affairs, as well as Division I membership issues. Niland began her career as a practicing attorney with the United States District Court System and the US Department of Justice.

“It was very clear from her experience in higher education and in law, that Bridget Niland is a person committed to excellence,” said the Rev. James Maher, C.M., Niagara University president. “Niagara University’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management is a center of regional, national, and international excellence, and Dean Niland is the ideal person to continue its legacy and advance the hospitality and sports management/entertainment industries and the viable careers they offer.”

Widely recognized for her leadership and work, Niland is a recipient of the Buffalo Business First “40 Under 40” award, was named to the Buffalo Business First Power 100 for Women three times, and was presented with the Buffalo Niagara Partnership Athena Young Professional Award. She was inducted into the Western New York Running Hall of Fame, the Williamsville Central School District Wall of Fame, and the University of Buffalo Athletics Hall of Fame.

Niland’s vision for the college is based on relationships.

“Relationships are important,” Niland said. “The relationships we have with each other, the relationships we have with our students, the relationships we have with our community. We will be building relationships in the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management by displaying the Vincentian principles of humility, service, and gratitude.

“We will be working with our students to elevate their student experience and to make sure that it is equitable and accessible to all students,” Niland continued. “We will meet them on their terms, but we will provide them guidance using strength of relationships. We will be re-engaging with our alumni, who demonstrate humility, service, and gratitude. Last, but certainly not least, we will partner with industry. These relationships will be a critical part of our relaunch.” 

Niland earned her bachelor of arts degree in history, political science, and legal studies, and her Ed.M. in educational leadership and policy–higher education administration from the State University of New York at Buffalo. She also holds a juris doctor from SUNY Buffalo School of Law, and is currently completing her Ph.D. in educational leadership and policy–higher education administration from UB.

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