Rev. James J. Maher, C.M. ’84C, D. Min. will leave St. John’s
University to become the 26th President of Niagara University (NY),
succeeding current President Rev. Joseph L. Levesque, C.M. The
appointment becomes official on August 1, 2013.
“Fr. Maher has been an engaged and influential part of the St.
John’s community for almost 23 years, most recently in his role as
Executive Vice President for Mission and Student Service,” said St.
John’s University President Rev. Donald J. Harrington, C.M. “Our
university is stronger and better for all that he has been and
He earned his B.A. in Sociology from St. John’s College of Liberal
Arts and Sciences in 1984. Six years later, he was ordained a
Vincentian priest and happily learned that his first assignment
would be to St. John’s.
“When I was assigned to St. John’s, I never thought that I would be
here for the next 23 years,” he said. “I’m very fortunate to have
been able to remain at the University that I love for so
Before assuming his current position at St. John’s, Fr. Maher
served as Campus Minister to the Department of Athletics; Vice
President of University Ministry; Vice President of Student Affairs
and Executive Director of the Vincentian Institute for Social
Action (VISA), an initiative that provides an academic focus for
programs where faculty and students can explore issues of poverty
and social injustice.
He is currently Chair of the Board of Directors of St. John's Bread
and Life, is a member of the Board of Trustees of DePaul University
in Chicago, and serves as Provincial Consultor for the Eastern
Province of the Congregation of the Mission.
Fr. Maher hopes to use his experiences at St. John’s to enhance
what he considers to be two of Niagara’s greatest strengths – its
academic programs and strong commitment to community service.
“I really want to focus on deepening the commitment of Niagara
University to serving those in need within the community of Niagara
Falls as well as the greater region of Western New York,” he said.
“I’m looking forward to seeing how we can enhance teaching,
research and service to advance the Vincentian mission.”
Reminiscing about his time at St. John’s, Fr. Maher acknowledges
that the University is very different today from what it was like
when he first arrived as a student. He is proud that St. John’s
Vincentian and Catholic identity is stronger today than ever.
“What’s significant to me is that while St. John’s has grown
tremendously over the years, we’ve maintained our commitment to
serve the same population we’ve always served. St. John’s has
evolved significantly as a university, and so have our Vincentian
and Catholic identities. That’s a very hard thing to do.”
As he prepares to assume his next assignment, he admits that it
will be hard to leave the University that has been a part of his
life for so many years. He will always have a special fondness for
the individuals with whom he has worked since his first days on
“I leave here with an incredible debt of gratitude to the
University and to the people who make it so very special,” he said.
“I’ll be praying for the members of the University community and
for the continued success of the great work of St. John’s.”