St. Bonaventure University is one of three institutions celebrating special anniversary years that were recognized Sunday, May 18, at Niagara University Commencement Exercises at the Niagara Falls Convention and Civic Center.
Honored along with St. Bonaventure, which is celebrating its 150th anniversary, were Christ the King Seminary of East Aurora, founded at the same time as St. Bonaventure, and D’Youville College of Buffalo, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
|Above: Anniversary Awards are presented to (from left) the Rev. Richard W. Siepka, S.T.L., president of Christ the King Seminary; Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F., S.T.D., president of St. Bonaventure University; and Sr. Denise Roche, GNSH, president of D’Youville College. At right is the Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M., Niagara University president. Below: Sr. Margaret receives her award from Fr. Joseph.
Fr. Joseph L. Levesque, Niagara University president, said Pope Benedict XVI, during his recent visit to the United States, thanked Catholic university presidents and educators for their dedication and generosity. It is in that same spirit, said Fr. Joseph, that Niagara recognizes the anniversaries of three Western New York Catholic institutions of higher learning.
“We are happy to recognize them because we have so much in common,” said Fr. Joseph. “As Catholic institutions, we share in a faith that promotes the dignity of all people.” He presented special Anniversary Awards to the presidents of each institution.
Founded 100 years ago by the Grey Nuns of the Sacred Heart, D’Youville College is named for the founder of the congregation of religious women, Marguerite d’Youville. She spent her life finding creative ways to serve the poor, and her heritage is reflected in the college’s emphasis on health-related professions, said Fr. Joseph. The college has grown and prospered over the last 29 years under the direction of alumna and President Sr. Denise A. Roche, Ph.D.
St. Bonaventure University, founded as a college and seminary 150 years ago by a group of Franciscan friars, remains dedicated to the charism of St. Francis of Assisi, founder of the Franciscan Order, said Fr. Joseph. St. Bonaventure University President Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F., S.T.D., is the first woman to receive a doctoral degree in theology from the Franciscan University in Rome. A former director of the University’s Franciscan Institute and former dean of the School of Franciscan Studies, “her research and writings have made a significant contribution to contemporary Franciscan history and life,” said Fr. Joseph.
Christ the King Seminary, which also marks its sesquicentennial this year, was founded along with St. Bonaventure and was situated on the University campus until 1974 when it merged with St. John Vianney Seminary in East Aurora. The seminary’s main mission is to educate candidates for the priesthood, but it also serves lay people preparing for permanent diaconate and students pursuing graduate degrees in theology, pastoral ministry and divinity. The Rev. Richard W. Siepka has served as president and rector of the seminary since 1996.
All three presidents were presented citations and Anniversary Award medals by Fr. Joseph.