December 08, 2009

The Nation’s Third Oldest College Newspaper

Volume 80, Issue 8

Flashback of Niagara University through the years

A historic overview of the NU campus.

A historic overview of the NU campus.

Niagara University has seen many changes to its beautifully acclaimed campus. It wasn't always where it stands today. NU used to be known as the DeVeaux campus in the late '70s, which is now known as DeVeaux Woods State Park. It was located only a mile from NU today, in the direction of Niagara Falls. In the '50s DeVeaux was a college for orphans and destitute children. DeVeaux also served as a military prep school, but was closed in 1972. In 1978, NU purchased DeVeaux to stand as NU's campus. However, New York state bought DeVeaux from NU, and it is currently being preserved as DeVeaux Woods State Park.
So where did NU go from there? NU was temporarily residing on farmland during the possession of DeVeaux. However, most of this extension was being used as part of NU's campus. Today, NU resides on Monteagle Ridge overlooking the gorge of the Niagara River, which connects Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

NU stands proud as a private, independent university rooted in a Catholic and Vincentian tradition. In the 1974 edition of the Niagaran, the university's yearbook, former NU President Kenneth F. Slattery said, "As I see it, in the days ahead, our University will continue to exemplify a current trend in higher education ... Niagara's student of tomorrow will reflect even more distinct characteristics of the student today - courteousness and affability and seriousness about life's purpose. The Niagara community of tomorrow will hold fast to its religious identity - a reminder for the entire world that God belongs on a university campus."

NU has taken big steps toward the future. Military training became a mandatory part of NU's curriculum in 1918 and 18 years later, the Army ROTC program was officially instituted. In 1926 women were finally admitted to NU, but only to the off-campus extension school. It soon became coeducational in 1944. In 1980 women could enroll in the ROTC program only to become nurses.

Much construction has happened on NU's campus, as well. The Gallagher Center, which was named after John J. "Taps" Gallagher, was built in 1950. In 1979, the Buscaglia-Castellani Art Gallery was established on the DeVeaux campus and 10 years later, moved to NU. It was double the size of DeVeaux's Art Museum, and was completed by April 1990.

In 1996, the campus celebrated the expansion of the new hockey arena along with the enjoyment of the renovation with the new Clet dining hall and Gallagher Center snack bar. In 2008, the Gallagher Center was renovated a second time to facilitate new food options to accommodate almost every possible taste craving.

In 2002, the apartments were completed. There were, and still are six buildings, each with eight, four-person apartments. Then in 2007, the academic complex was built to house the College of Education. And in the near future, Niagara will be finished renovating Leary Theatre and expanding to create the Elizabeth Ann Clune Center for Theater.
NU has come a long way since it was first established in 1856.

Since NU was founded by Vincentian fathers and brothers, it has always been concerned with the rights and dignity of each individual. NU has recognized the many diverse groups of individuals on campus since 1977 with a black awareness group, a Hispanic society in 1993 and an Asian association in 1996. Currently, NU has a diversity advocates club, which brings more awareness to the campus environment surrounding issues concerning diversity, and an organization called Multicultural International Student Affairs, which educates the entire campus community on a variety of culture and cultural issues serving the needs of NU's under-represented students, as well as assisting Niagara's international student population.

There have been many big names, along with much variety, that have come to NU to perform. These include, The Pure Prairie League, Kenny Loggins, the Goo Goo Dolls, Bruce Springsteen, Counting Crows, Jason Mraz, Michelle Branch, O.A.R., Gym Class Heros, Boys Like Girls, Little Big Town, Jagged Edge and Josh Gracin, just to name a few.

Other exciting events that happened on NU's campus were: variety shows, or more popularly known as open mic nites, which are currently put on once every semester; "rent-a-freshman" (as mentioned in the 1987 Niagaran), which meant students or faculty could "rent" a freshman for hours to clean their rooms, carry their books, wash their cars or do other interesting things; Happy Hours and various dances throughout the semesters. NU students can also enjoy a variety of campus activities more than 70 different academic, social, cultural and athletic clubs and organizations. Volunteer and community service provide NU students with a positive way to become involved with the surrounding community.

In specific eras, such as the '70s and '80s, students at NU might look funny to someone in this day and age. Goofy glasses, ugly sweaters, short-shorts and the bad hairdos were common. Though, if students in the past saw us today, they'd probably think the same thing about us. The only thing we have in common is having an education that makes a difference.

Share this: