Niagara Gazette

Communities

July 30, 2013

Father Levesque honored by Niagara University before heading out to St. John's post

Niagara Gazette — The Rev. Joseph Levesque is on his way to his new, temporary job at St. John's University. But before his new school could get its hands on him, his home for the past 42 years needed one last chance to celebrate and say goodbye.

Niagara University's outgoing president of 13 years, and a mainstay on the campus since the early 1970s, is on his way to his new temporary home today and will begin as interim president at the Vincentian sister school in Queens, where he'll assume leadership from the outgoing the Rev. Donald Harrington.

It's a move he wasn't planning on making when he announced his intentions to vacate Niagara's leadership in February. At that point, he was prepared to serve as president emeritus. But plans change.

"My reason for changing my mind is that I'm part of the Vincentian community," he said. "My community and the board of trustees at St. John's contacted me and asked if I was willing to serve as interim president. It wasn't part of my plan, but I see it as a temporary thing and hopefully I'll be able to help the school in transitioning from its longtime president, (the Rev.) Donald Harrington, into the future. And hopefully, I'll be part of the process of selecting a new president. So, while it wasn't my original plan, I did it in the spirit of helping out."

Levesque assuming the role of president in New York is just the latest round of musical chairs the two schools have played with each other this year.

After he announced his intentions, Niagara's board of trustees formed a committee searching for a new leader. The group identified the Rev. James Maher as its preferred candidate and hired him to take Levesque's place.

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