In Memoriam

Niagara Mourns Longtime Professor

Joseph J. Forrester III, a chemistry professor at Niagara University, passed away on Feb. 20, 2013. He was 85.

Forrester joined Niagara University in 1960 as a faculty member in the chemistry department, where he developed a reputation as a professor with a never-wavering commitment to excellence. During his 44-year tenure at Niagara, he mentored countless students in the classroom and as a member of the Pre-Health Professional Committee. Many of these students went on to establish successful careers as doctors, dentists, and medical professionals in other health-related fields. In 1986, he served as acting dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and was the director of the NU Honors Program from 1991-1995. He retired in 2004.

He was honored twice by the College of Arts and Sciences; in 1986, he received its teacher recognition award, and in 2003, he was the recipient of its Excellence in Service Award.

Off campus, Forrester embodied Niagara’s Vincentian values through his work with The Consortium of the Niagara Frontier, a joint undertaking by Niagara, Canisius and Daemen colleges that offered college-level courses and degrees to prison inmates. Believing that everyone deserved an education, Forrester joined the consortium at its founding in 1975 and spent the next 25 years as a volunteer, challenging his students to reach beyond their current limitations and develop their potential. Many of these former students would visit him in his office in DePaul Hall when they were released to thank him for teaching them. In 1999, he was chosen by the consortium’s students and faculty to receive the Reverend Thomas A. McHugh Distinguished Faculty Award in recognition of his commitment and dedication.

Forrester also touched hundreds of lives through his support of the American Red Cross, for which he donated more than 15 gallons of blood.

Marty Troia, former secretary in the chemistry department, remembers Forrester as a “brilliant educator and a wonderfully kind and generous human being” who enjoyed sharing stories about his family. Like many of his former students, Troia credits Forrester with her academic and career success. “He was the person most responsible for me pursuing a college degree. I will forever be grateful to him for his belief in my intellectual ability and inspiring me to go for my dream of a college degree.”

Dr. Nancy McGlen, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, notes that Forrester set an example that she follows to this day. "Joe Forrester was committed to his students and to Niagara University. He served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences after Father Levesque, and his 'walk around' style to talk to faculty to find out what was happening was a model I have tried to follow as dean."

Dr. Robert Greene, '75,'77, chair of the biology department, was a student in Forrester's organic chemistry class. “He was a teacher you could rely on and always willing to help students with this difficult subject," he recalls. "Later, I was fortunate enough to have Joe as a colleague and it was in part his collegial approach to his teaching of science that helped to formulate major components of my developing career as a biology professor. His insights into the inter-personal workings of the sciences at Niagara University helped me to achieve success in both my teaching and my research. He will always have a warm fond spot in my heart."

"Joe’s easy going approach to life was amazing," notes Connie Guthrie Greene, office coordinator in the biochemistry, chemistry, physics and biology departments. "He could take the stress out of a working day with his smile and wit. He always had a joke to brighten your day. He was always very encouraging and supportive; making it a true pleasure to work for him."

Forrester is survived by his wife, Margaret A. “Peg” Forrester; his children, Raymond Forrester, Dr. Maureen Finney, ’91, and Dr. Joseph Forrester IV, ’92; six grandchildren; his brother, Fredric Forrester; and eleven nieces and nephews.