As we come to the end of another winter season we begin to look for signs of spring. While I don't know that this has been a particularly harsh winter, I do hear people remark each February and March about how they have had enough and are ready for spring.
Of course, in Western New York, our growing impatience with the weather coincides with the Lenten season and our anticipation of Easter. Easter is certainly a time of special blessing for us.
We are also in the late winter of our campaign and are looking forward to a time of celebration for "The Promise of Niagara." For that reason, this edition of the Eagle provides you with an update on the university's campaign progress. We currently have raised more than $61 million toward our goal of $80 million. I am very proud of the work of our board members, alumni, friends, and of course, our staff and administration. The dedication that everyone has brought to the campaign has been very energizing.
This past January we were blessed to receive a $1-million gift from the family of the late Dr. Lawrence D. Jacobs, a member of the university's Class of 1961. In the announcement of the gift, Dr. Jacobs' wife, Pamela Jacobs-Vogt, said, " ... it will serve as an inspiration for students to pursue careers in the science field." The gift from the Jacobs family is truly inspirational and is very important to "The Promise of Niagara." In fact, we have been blessed in the great support we have received throughout the campaign. To date, we have received 74 gifts of $100,000 or more.
The financial contributions are most important to us in a capital campaign, but I would be remiss if I didn't also recognize gifts of time and effort that have also been given. In a special way I want to extend my sincerest gratitude to Bob Dwyer who has served a dual purpose for Niagara for these past few years. He has been the chairman for "The Promise of Niagara" campaign, while at the same time continuing to provide leadership and guidance as the chairman of the board of trustees. His dedication to our institution is exemplary and it does not go unnoticed. Thank you most sincerely, Bob.
It is important for us to reflect on how this campaign is laying the groundwork for the next 150 years of Niagara University. The opening of the Academic Complex and Bisgrove Hall in 2007 was a tremendous event that transformed the colleges of Education and Business Administration. This spring we will cut the ribbon on the Elizabeth Ann Clune Center for Theatre and the renovated Leary Theatre. This center will play a key role in our theater program and our overall campus experience.
When talking about the transformation of the campus it is very important to highlight the B. Thomas Golisano Center for Integrated Sciences. As I have said before, this interdisciplinary science building will radically alter the teaching and research environment on our campus. We are continuing work on this project behind the scenes with planners and architects and we look forward to the day in the near future when we will cut the ribbon for this great center.
In addition to the physical improvements on the campus, the campaign funding also allows us to grow the amount of financial aid money available to students at Niagara. During these challenging times we know how critically important this is to our students.
These projects are very exciting in their own right, and each has, or will, make an impact on the physical campus at Niagara. However, what energizes me most about these projects, and the entire Promise campaign, is the keen focus it has on our students at Niagara University. The benefit they derive from the new buildings, scholarships, academic program development and campus improvements is immeasurable and long-lasting. These improvements will continue to provide an environment that fosters academic excellence and encourages a vibrant campus life.
Once again, I am so pleased to have the opportunity to reflect on these successes with you and to thank so many of you who are connected to our campaign. I look forward to updating you further on "The Promise of Niagara."
As always, I look forward to hearing your input or comments on my letter and this issue of the Eagle magazine at firstname.lastname@example.org.
God bless you for your generosity!
Joseph L. Levesque, C.M.