Since its beginnings in 1856, Niagara University has lived its mission. Today, our University Community looks to St. Vincent de Paul, Catholic priest and reformer, innovative educator, and organizer of charitable and systemic responses to poverty for its contemporary educational, Catholic and Vincentian vision. We were one of the first universities to offer service learning, a program now called IMPACT, providing tutoring, non-profit capacity building, and other change-producing projects in the community. Thousands of NU students have participated since the program's inception and more than 70 classes include project based learning activities as an integral part of their syllabi. We offer a Poverty Minor and a Leadership Minor, in which students—regardless of major--acquire the knowledge, skills and practical experience needed to be effective in combating poverty and leading transformation. We provide grants to faculty who research to find causes and solutions to poverty. We offer scholarships to students who are committed to local service work and systemic change. Our students, faculty and staff stand with the poor in some of the most disadvantaged areas in our community and in our world including Haiti, Peru, Guatemala and Panama.
The 4 Critical Elements of Our Mission
As a university, our strength lies in our ability to know and help each other as human persons. Grounded by an internal culture that is characterized by creativity, flexibility, and collaborative relationships, Niagara University faculty and staff interact with students in a variety of ways to help them grow as scholars and people. Our students must reach beyond books and websites to realize that building successful personal and professional relationships is the key to achieving goals. Our service activities, shaped by our Catholic and Vincentian heritage, emphasize the need to respect the God-given dignity of all persons.
Through quality teaching and meaningful research, we seek to develop within our students a passion for knowledge and inquiry. This provides the cornerstone of success in academia and the workplace, and propels the journey of lifelong learning. This passion must be supported by a joint commitment from faculty and students to pursue scholarly excellence in a culture of academic integrity. The educational journey also includes opportunities for students to become actively involved in integrative experiences designed to promote problem-solving, personal growth, and intellectual maturity. We also recognize that some students need help to reach their goals; resultantly, we have programs, faculty, and staff committed to enhancing student success. Through a strong general educational foundation in the liberal arts, we are dedicated to giving students the knowledge, skills, and values they need for positions of responsibility in their future professions and in society. Current and practical instruction is complemented by career development initiatives and programs that prepare students to pursue advanced degrees. Since integrity is critical for true and lasting professional success, we place a special emphasis on understanding ethical issues and expectations.
St. Vincent de Paul, a 17th century Catholic priest, inspired and organized his contemporaries to serve the poor and oppressed. In this spirit, Niagara University strives to develop leaders who will make a difference in their local communities and the larger world. We teach students about the challenges and causes of poverty, and we support service learning activities where our students reach out with compassion to serve people's basic needs. The larger university community is encouraged to study St. Vincent and continue his important work. The Vincentian Mission provides purpose to our institution, and calls on us to strive for both excellence and humility.
The rich literary and cultural traditions of the Catholic church live on at Niagara University. Catholic intellectual life is centered on understanding the philosophical, moral, and practical implications of respecting the God-given dignity of every person. For the individual, this perspective provides a strong foundation of values to lead a good and fulfilling life by nurturing the development of the whole person - mind, body, heart and soul. More broadly, the university supports groups promoting social justice, especially those that focus on issues of poverty and oppression.