Since its founding in 1856, members of the Vincentian Community have called Niagara University home. From the Most Rev. John Timon, C.M., and the Rev. John J. Lynch, C.M., the first Vincentians to live on Monteagle Ridge, to the current priests and brothers, the list of residents is long and impressive, including those who would become bishops, presidents of universities, and provincial superiors. While serving in a variety of roles on campus, they have exemplified the charity of St. Vincent de Paul and set an example for our students to follow. Niagara's Vincentian community today includes the following men.
The Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M.
Role on Campus: President
Levesque began his career at Niagara University in 1970 as a lecturer in the religious studies department. After completing his doctoral studies, Levesque returned to Niagara in 1974 where he spent the next 14 years as professor of religious studies, residence director, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and director of the graduate division of Arts and Sciences. In March of 2000, he was inaugurated as Niagara's 25th president.
Before Niagara: Ordained to the priesthood in 1967, Levesque spent his first few years of vocation at St. John's Preparatory School in Brooklyn and St. Joseph's College in Princeton, where he was an instructor of religious studies. In 1986, he was named president and superior of St. Joseph's College. He was chosen as provincial consultor in 1989 and named provincial of the Eastern Province of the Vincentian Community in 1990. From 1995-97, Levesque served as president of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, a leadership organization serving all male religious in the United States. In that role, he gained a national presence, working with the bishops of the church and with church authorities in Rome.
Vincentian Inspiration: The example of the Maryknoll major seminarians who provided religious education to the students in his hometown of North Tarrytown, N.Y. He went on to study Latin with the Benedictines for one year at Benet Latin School in Hingham, Mass., and then applied for entrance to the Vincentians.
The Rev. Joseph G. Hubbert, C.M., '73
Role on Campus: Vincentian Religious Superior
Associate Professor of Religious Studies
Hubbert returned to Niagara in 1993 after having taught in the religious studies department as a newly ordained priest from 1977-80. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Hubbert serves as moderator for a number of campus organizations and activities, including Family Weekend, the men's hockey club, and the softball and basketball teams. He is also a member of the university's Hearing Committee.
Before Niagara: Ordained in 1977, Hubbert had teaching assignments at Mary Immaculate Seminary and the Philadelphia Theological Seminary of St. Charles Borromeo in Overbrook, Pa. From 1988-92, he served as assistant superior at Mary Immaculate Seminary.
Vincentian Inspiration: Several family members who chose religious lives, including three aunts and his uncle, Father Joseph Aloysius Hubbert, who was a Vincentian priest and taught at Niagara. Hubbert also spent summers during his teenage years at a Vincentian vocation workshop in Princeton, N.J., and received his high school education from the Vincentian Minor Seminary, St. Joseph's High School and College, in Princeton, N.J., where he encountered many role models.
The Rev. Bruce J. Krause, C.M.
Role on Campus: Campus Minister
Krause joined the campus ministry staff in September of 2008 and also works on Niagara University's mission.
Before Niagara: After his ordination in 1982, Krause served for many years in parish ministry, including assignments in Germantown, Pa., and in several parishes throughout east central Alabama. During his last parish assignment, he began working with Latino families in the area. He was associate director of the Vincentian Renewal Center in Princeton, N.J., and the spiritual adviser for the Eastern Region of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. He also taught courses in theology at St. John's University and the College of St. Elizabeth in Morristown, N.J., and served as a part-time hospital chaplain, president of the Auburn Ministerial Association, and team member for various youth and adult retreats at parish and diocesan levels.
Vincentian Inspiration: The zeal and enthusiasm of the Vincentian priests and Tritarian sisters whom Krause knew from his childhood parish, Holy Family Church, in Lannett, Ala., and from those staffing the parish and campus ministry near his alma mater, Auburn University.
The Rev. Stephen J. Denig, C.M., '71
Role on Campus: Associate Professor of Education
Denig returned to Niagara University in 2002, 31 years after graduating. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, he also serves the campus community as alumni chaplain; as a member of the University Senate, the Advanced Research Committee, the Senate Academic Integrity Committee; and as chair of the Senate Curriculum Committee.
Before Niagara: Denig was ordained to the priesthood in 1975. Prior to returning to his alma mater, he served at St. John's University in Jamaica, N.Y., as assistant professor and assistant dean. He was also an instructor of educational administration at Rutgers University, headmaster at St. Joseph's Preparatory School in Princeton, and taught at Archbishop Wood High School for Boys in Warminster, Pa. An expert in the field of education, Denig has had numerous published articles and has made presentations at international and national conferences.
Vincentian Inspiration: His father's devotion to the Miraculous Medal. (St. Catherine Laboure, a member of the Daughters of Charity, had a series of five apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The design for the Miraculous Medal resulted from those apparitions.) The priests at Denig's New York City parish, where he served as an altar boy, inspired his vocation to be a priest.
Brother Martin Schneider, C.M.
Role on Campus: Administrative Assistant in the Department of Theater and Fine Arts
Coordinator of Graduate and Undergraduate Commencements
Senior Lecturer in the Department of Communication Studies
Schneider was assigned to Niagara in September of 1972. He first worked in the College of Nursing in Dunleavy Hall, where he coordinated the audio-visual department and independent study center. In 1976, he left the college to take on an administrative role in the theater department. He was an adjunct professor in the English department, teaching freshman English from 1980-90, and lived in O'Shea Hall as a resource person for much of that time. From 1990-95, Schneider served as director of student activities. He moved to Florida in 1996 to care for his parents, returning to Monteagle Ridge to organize convocations and commencements. Schneider came back to live at Niagara in 2001 and was reassigned to the theater department. Among his duties is coordinating the theater's repertory company, a children's story theater troupe that is well-known in the Western New York area. He also teaches in the communication studies department.
Before Niagara: Schneider took his first vows in 1964 and was assigned to the Seminary of Our Lady of Angels, an interdiocesan major seminary run by the Vincentians in Albany, N.Y., where he served as assistant librarian and organized the audio-visual aids. He also taught religion classes at Our Lady of Mercy School in Colonie, N.Y. He took his final vows in 1967.
Vincentian Inspiration: The Vincentians at St. John's Prep in Brooklyn. His initial interest in religious life was because of the example of a neighbor's brother, who was a religious brother.
Brother Augustine Towey, C.M.
Role on Campus: Director Emeritus of Niagara University Theater
Adjunct Professor of Theater and Fine Arts
Niagara University Theatre is synonymous with Towey, who has taught and directed Niagara students since 1964. He founded the university theater program in 1975 and established the bachelor of fine arts degree, which received New York state certification in 1988. He was named director emeritus upon his retirement in 2005. He continues to direct productions.
Before Niagara: A published poet and playwright, Towey began writing plays at the age of 17. (He still does. He is the author of seven volumes of poetry, including his "The Poem You Asked For: The Collected Poems of Brother Augustine Towey," and 12 plays, including his treatment of the life of St. Vincent de Paul, "Vincent in Heaven." A two-pack CD of much of his poetry is now available; see page 3 for more information.) Towey entered the Brothers Novitiate at St. Vincent's Seminary in Germantown, Pa. He was received into the Vincentian Community in April 1962 and was missioned to Niagara University, where he has remained ever since.
Vincentian Inspiration: The influence of the Vincentians he met at St. John's University while working toward his master's degree. Although he had a strong desire to enter the religious life since his high school days, he did not pursue this interest until he was 24 years old, when he entered the seminary to become a brother in October of 1961.
The Rev. John T. Maher, C.M., '76
Role on Campus: University Chaplain
Director of Campus Ministry
Maher has had a variety of assignments at the university, including director of student activities from 1986-89 and vice president for student life from 1989-93. He served a seven-year term as a member of the Niagara University Board of Trustees from 1998-05. He returned to Niagara in 2005 as a member of the campus ministry staff. He currently serves as director of campus ministry as well as university chaplain.
Before Niagara: Maher was ordained in 1981 and was assigned to Archbishop Wood High School in Warminister, Pa., to teach religious studies. He also moderated several of the school's athletic teams and organizations. After leaving NU in 1993, he studied at the University of Pennsylvania, earning master's degrees in social work and liberal arts. He was stationed at St. Vincent's Parish in Philadelphia and also served in Catholic Charities for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, where he spent three years developing and implementing a pastoral plan for persons living with HIV/AIDS and their caregivers within the five-county archdiocese. Following that assignment, he was transferred to St. John's University where he oversaw the design and construction of the first campus residences for students in the 130-year history of SJU. He also did seminary formation work with the Vincentians while at St. John's, serving as the director of field education.
In 2000, Maher became vocation director for the Vincentian Eastern Province, charged with designing a five-year strategic plan for recruiting new members of the community. He also found time to successfully pursue a certificate program in spiritual direction.
Vincentian Inspiration: The warmth and goodness of the Niagara University Vincentians. He was especially moved by the support he received when his father became ill during his senior year, and has said that Niagara was a defining moment in his life because of the relationships he developed here.
In August, Niagara University welcomes another Vincentian, the Rev. Thomas F. McKenna, who will assist in Niagara's efforts to become ever stronger in living and promoting its Catholic and Vincentian mission on campus and in the community. McKenna, formerly provincial superior of the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission, served as vice chair of the university's board of trustees for nine years and is now trustee emeritus.