On the Cover

James Tipa, Sophomore Business Major from Mount Kisco, N.Y.

“The first time I met Father Levesque was during the CARE Orientation my freshman year. I was taking my placement exam and my parents were outside for the barbeque. When I finished the exam and came out to join them, I saw that they were having lunch with Father Levesque. He actually waited until I finished the test so I could meet him and have lunch with him. It was quite wonderful to be able to meet him; he was so personable. The last thing you think, when you get into a school, is that you are going to be eating with the president your first time on the campus.

“Father had asked my parents what my interests were, where they saw me going, what my classes were, and he, based on what they said, recommended certain things. I’m interested in civic engagement and emergency management-type initiatives, so he immediately told me to talk to Dr. Taylor and outlined things here at Niagara. He also told me he has an open-door policy –– if I ever needed anything, I could meet with him. It was the last thing I was expecting, but it certainly was a warm welcome and a great introduction to the campus. I felt at home when the head of the institution is welcoming you.

“I also had the opportunity to work in Campus Ministry so I’ve gotten to meet him both through his position as president as well as in the church setting. It was nice to be a part of Mass with him. He always speaks with the people, not to the people. He makes it known that we’re all here together and no one’s above another person. He just makes everybody feel at home. Especially in the church setting here at Alumni Chapel. It’s amazing to see how many people from the local community come who may not have direct ties to the university. They call this their local parish because Father and all the priests within Campus Ministry make it so welcoming. It’s nice to see that we have our own community within the campus as well, and it speaks to what Father Levesque has done to bridge the gap between the university and the local community.

“I’ve also been able to see that at some of the dinners at Heart & Soul, when I’ve had the chance to hear of all his accomplishments and what he and the school give to these groups. You can really tell that, within Niagara Falls, the initiatives he’s put forward have made a difference, and that he works so closely with people like Dr. Taylor and a lot of the outreach groups. They really get to the people who need the help. You can tell that he truly cares, which I think speaks highly of him.”