Niagara University introduces new president
It's a new era for Niagara University. The university introduced its new president Wednesday afternoon. YNN’s Antoinette DelBel has more on Father James Maher.
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LEWISTON, N.Y. — Students, faculty and staff at Niagara University welcomed the school's 26th president on Wednesday - Father James Maher.
"I wake up every day and I do what I love to do,” said Rev. Maher. “I'm a priest; I'm an educator; I'm a Vincentian."
Those qualities are what the university's Board of Trustees said they were looking for in the next president.
Father Maher will replace Father Joseph Levesque, who announced his resignation in January after 13 years. The two have known each other for more than two decades.
Father Levesque said with Maher's many leadership roles and focus on students, he is ready to keep moving the university forward.
"I was more the professor and the administrator, and so while I always loved being with the students, he has more experience working with them," said Rev. Levesque.
Maher is currently the executive vice president for mission and student services at St. John's University in New York City - a role he has held for the last 22 years. He has spent the last three years as a member of Niagara's Board of Trustees.
In the mid-80s, Maher was a part of the Vincentian Service Corps and worked with NU students and poverty-stricken Falls residents.
He said his experiences have prepared him for his new leadership role and it's something that's come full circle.
"I remember coming here as a little boy when the Buffalo Bills used to train here,” said Maher. “It sort of planted the seed that this is really a special place."
Father Maher will officially take over as Niagara University President on August 1.
In the meantime, Father Levesque said after his last day in July, he'll stay on campus as president emeritus and help Maher with his transition.