Vincentian Heritage Convocation

Six individuals are honored during the Vincentian Heritage week

Malika-Budur Kalila

Niagara University, N.Y.- This year Niagara University celebrates 400 years of the Vincentian charism. On Sept. 28, Niagara University held the Vincentian Heritage Convocation at the Alumni Chapel during the Vincentian Heritage Week. As an annual tradition of Niagara University, six individuals were honored for their significant contributions to the Niagara community.

The event started with the mace ceremony. President of Niagara University, Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., honored individuals and other official authorities entered the venue along with the mace-bearer Mustafa Gokcek, Ph.D., associate professor of history and director of interdisciplinary studies.

The event started with  welcoming speech of Amelia Gallagher Ph.D., associate professor for religious studies and director of university mission, and continued with presenting awards to their recipients.


The Vincentian Mission Award  was presented to Kurt Von Voetsch, gallery manager at Castellani Museum for extraordinary contribution to Castellani museum and his service to Niagara Community for the last 25 years.

The St. Vincent de Paul Medal was presented to William Bradberry, ’70, whose lifestyle is dedicated to serve the idea and values of St.Vincent. Currently he is a  columnist for the Niagara Gazette and chair of Heritage Foundation for the Underground Railroad.

Gokcek was presented with Ozanam Medal, which is awarded to people who offer helping hand to the poor and people in need. Last year, Gokcek helped students from Turkey to become a part of Niagara University and so far serves and supports the Muslim community of the university. Also, through his courses on Middle East, Central Asia and Soviet Union, he advances knowledge and promotes tolerance at the campus.

The St. John-Gabriel Perboyre  Award was  presented to Rev. Patrick Flaganan, C.M., ’87, Ph.D.,superior of the Murray House and associate professor of theology at St. John’s University. On his 25th year as a Vincentian priest, Flaganan receives award for significant efforts made for the global society.

Denise Gomez-Santos, executive regional director for Boards of Cooperative Educational Services, was presented with St. Lousie de Marillac Award for outstanding service. For more than 30 years she focused on students learning English as a second language.

Rev. Patrick Griffin, C.M., ’75 received an honorary degree; Doctor of Humane Letters. Griffin is the director for the office for the Church and Society at St. John’s University, who is known for his extraordinary service within the state and overseas.


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