On the Cover

Dr. Gary Praetzel, Dean of the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management

“The one thought that immediately comes to my mind about the president is his unique pastoral touch. He has a way of calming the swirling events around you and putting things into proper perspective, allowing you to take a deep breath and relax. Whether it is at commencement, a convocation, or a meeting, the president has the unique gift, through the power of Holy Spirit, to bring peace to your heart. But it is not just words with our Rev. president.

“It was Christmas 2008 and I had bladder cancer surgery at that time. There were complications and I had significant bleeding. It was a worse cancer than anticipated. A little over a month later, I was back in the operating room at Roswell Park for a follow-up procedure. I was laying down, watching the Super Bowl pregame show, and the president called me to check on how I was recovering. It really showed me, in a very personal way, the caring and pastoral heart of the president. This was a trying time for me, as both my parents were rapidly failing and they could no longer live on their own. This call gave me the boost that I needed at just the right time.

“Niagara is a caring community because it reflects this same caring heart of the president. It is a heart of faith in action. Caring for others has become the norm across the entire university because the president made it our way through his way.

“In my office I have two pictures of the president and me together. I only have more photos of Carol in my office! These two photos were from a College of Hospitality and Tourism Management Convocation and a graduation. The graduation photo shows the two of us together with Jean-Marc Droulers, who was the then-owner of the Villa d’Este hotel in Lake Como, Italy, a hotel that was ranked by some organizations as the number one hotel in the world. Jean-Marc received an honorary degree at the 2009 commencement. Two days after that photo was taken, I had another operating room procedure related to the bladder cancer. I think that you know who inquired very early about my condition.”