Niagara University in Ontario awarded degrees to 145 graduates, the first class from its Vaughan location, during a virtual celebration of its 13th commencement on Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020.
The Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., Niagara University president, conferred the degrees of bachelor of professional studies in education on 138 graduates and master of science in educational leadership on seven graduates.
“Congratulations to our graduates in Ontario,” he said. “These individuals have demonstrated incredible resiliency, completing their degree during a global pandemic. Now, as NU graduates, they are committed to excellence and prepared to be women and men of action, bearing mercy, justice, charity, and faith for all. As they work in the field of education, which has arguably seen the most disruption during the pandemic, we know that they are prepared to go forth and make an impact in a world that desperately needs it. They will truly be the Power of Niagara University.”
Three graduates were honored for their academic accomplishments during the event. Carlos Manuel Jesus Heleno received the Outstanding Graduate Student in Educational Leadership award, while Olivia Francesca Comella (primary-junior), and Hamza Mubashir Ahmad (intermediate-senior) received Excellence in Teacher Preparation awards, which are determined by members of the Niagara University in Ontario faculty.
Dr. Dan Patterson, member of the Niagara University Board of Trustees and retired president of Niagara College in Canada, delivered the commencement address.
Since 1984, Niagara University has offered programs in Canada which operate under the written consent of the Minister of Colleges and Universities. In January 2019, the university established an additional location in the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre. This was the first cohort of students to graduate from this location.
The Honourable Maurizio Bevilacqua, mayor of Vaughan, who led negotiations between the university and community leaders to establish the new site, offered his congratulations to the students on their momentous academic achievement and their unwavering commitment to higher learning and education.
“I want to offer my warmest and sincerest congratulations to Niagara University's graduating students – a special group that will be remembered as being the first graduating class from Niagara University's Vaughan campus,” he said. “These bright minds are the leaders of tomorrow who will break through barriers, make innovative discoveries, and forge a new path for the future.”
“We were grateful to open this new location in Vaughan, and would again like to extend our appreciation to Mayor Bevilacqua, and the Vaughan community for their partnership in the region,” said Father Maher.
Further information on Niagara University and its program in Ontario is available at www.niagara.edu/ontario.