opening mass

An American Sign Language interpreter at the Vincentian Heritage Opening Mass

Held to coincide with the Feast day of St. Vincent DePaul, Vincentian Heritage Week is a Niagara University tradition that educates and celebrates all that makes our university Vincentian. During this week we hold our annual opening mass for the entire university community. We also offer a variety of ways to integrate education and service to the poor throughout the week.

NU students experience first-hand what it is like to live with the stress of not having enough to go around in the annual “Poverty Simulation” organized by the Social Work department. An academic panel on current events related to social justice is held, during which experts are called upon to educate us about various difficulties faced by local and global communities.

At our Vincentian Convocation, we recognize those from our university, the local community and the entire Vincentian family who have made serious contributions to the common good. The annual Convocation also hosts a keynote address on the Vincentian mission in the modern world.  Every single day during this eventful week, students, faculty and staff are given opportunity to seek solutions to the poverty that effects both our local community and the world. From fund-raising walks, to actively working with our local and global service partners, this week shows how Niagara University lives its Vincentian mission throughout the year.

Vincentian Heritage Convocation 2017, Honorees

  • Honorary Doctoral Degree: Rev. Patrick J. Griffin, C.M., Executive Director of the Vincentian Center for Church and State, St. John’s University.
  • Vincentian Mission Award: Mr. Kurt Von Voetsch, Gallery Manager, Castellani Art Museum, Adjunct Professor, Theatre and Fine Arts, Niagara University.
  • St. Vincent de Paul Medal: William Bradberry ’70, B.A., J.D., President and Chairman Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Area Commission, Community Activist, Columnist for the Niagara Gazette
  • St. John-Gabriel Perboyre Award: Rev. Patrick Flanagan, CM,’87, Ph.D. Associate Professor, Theology and Religious Studies, Religious Superior, Vincentian Community Murray House, St. John’s University
  • St. Louise De Marillac Award for Outstanding Service: Denise Gonez-Santos, Executive Director, Regional Bilingual Education-Resource Network West, Supervisor, Erie 1 BOCES
  • Ozanam Medal: Dr. Mustafa Gökçek, Ph.D. Associate Professor, History Department. Director, M.A. – Interdisciplinary Studies, Niagara University

Vincentian Heritage Convocation 2016, Honorees

  • The Rev. John Rybolt, C.M., Ph.D., Honorary Doctoral Degree, Vincentian Scholar-in-Residence
  • Michael Skowronski, Vincentian Mission Award, Corporate Relations Developer Career Services 
  • Gary Hall, St. Vincent de Paul Medal, President and CEO of WTS Inc. 
  • Sister Mary Johnice Rzadkiewicz, C.S.S.F., St. Louise de Marillac Award for Outstanding Service, Executive Director of Response to Love Center 
  • Peggy Choong, Ph.D., Ozanam Medal, Professor of Marketing

Vincentian Heritage Convocation 2015, Honorees

  • The Rev. W. Barry Moriarty, C.M., Honorary Degree, Doctor of Humane Letters
  • David Campbell, ’63, St. Vincent de Paul Medal
  • Dr. Chris Lee, Associate Professor, Political Science, Ozanam Medal
  • Derek Puff, Assistant Director of Recreation and Intramurals, Vincentian Mission Award
  • The Rev. Stephen Grozio, C.M., ’75, Perboyre Medal
  • Kathaleen Granchelli, St. Louise de Marillac Award for Outstanding Service