Former NU president Nugent passes away
The Rev. John G. Nugent, C.M., the 21st president of Niagara University (1981-84) passed on Thursday, Feb. 4, at the St. Catherine's Infirmary in Philadelphia from natural causes. Nugent was 87.
"The entire Niagara University family is mourning the loss of Father John Nugent," said the Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, president of Niagara University. "Father Nugent played a key role in the long history of Niagara. In his time as president, he made the university much stronger, and he guided it with a keen focus on the Vincentian mission of the university."
Nugent began his time at Niagara in 1966 as the dean of the Graduate School and the School of Education. He left that position in 1972, and then held a seat on the Niagara University board of trustees. He was named chairman of the board in 1978.
Nugent became president of Niagara in August of 1981, and he was immediately charged with establishing fiscal stability for the university. He instituted tough fiscal controls, which played a major role in creating a stronger economic condition at the university. As president, Nugent welcomed Mother Teresa of Calcutta as Niagara's commencement speaker in 1982. Under his presidency, Niagara introduced a new degree program in computer and information sciences, earned accreditation from the Council on Social Work and named the "Taps" Gallagher Center in honor of the legendary basketball coach.
He was ordained a priest on May 26, 1949, and received a Doctor of Canon Laws degree in 1953 from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. Before joining Niagara, he was a faculty member at St. Joseph's College in Princeton, N.J. (1949-50). He was a teacher of moral theology, ethics, literature and music at Mary Immaculate Seminary in Northampton, Pa., (1953-54) and was director of scholastics there from 1954-60. Nugent was the superior and director of the seminary for six years before his first assignment at NU.
After leaving Niagara, Nugent served in many roles, including professor of canon law at Mary Immaculate Seminary, member of the formation team for the DePaul Novitiate in Germantown, Pa., and general ministry at St. Vincent's Seminary in Germantown.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Tuesday, Feb. 9, at the Miraculous Medal Shrine in Philadelphia.