Niagara University gets $3.5 million gift from Gacioch family

Oct. 14—Niagara University is lucky to have an alumnus like Bill Gacioch who cares about where he attended so much.

The institution announced a $3.5 million donation from Bill and Nancy Gacioch on Friday, which will go toward funding internship programs at the newly renamed Gacioch Center for Career & Professional Development. The circle at the center of campus was also dedicated Gacioch Circle in their honor.

"Bill and Nancy have been incredibly generous to Niagara University, and the announcement of today's gift further demonstrates their continued commitment to Niagara," said Rev. James Maher C.M., Niagara University's president. "We are humbled not only by their continued philanthropy, but their commitment to students who are forging career pathways through internships and professional experiences."

The school's Office of Career Services works to facilitate internship opportunities for students across every program. While they can help students confirm career interests, network, and set career goals, they do not always provide compensation.

"He understands the critical need for students who sometimes have to choose between working a job or taking an unpaid internship," said Thomas Burns, Niagara University's associate vice-president for public relations. "This gift will help provide the stipend for students who can take an unpaid internship and receive a stipend courtesy of the gift from Bill and Nancy Gacioch."

Gacioch is the chairman and CEO of the Orchard Park-based National Property Management Associates, which owns apartments across the country.

His arrival at the Niagara University campus in 1957 had much more humble beginnings, where he initially had only enough money for one semester, but he was able to work on campus with the Vincentian priests in Meade Hall, where they resided. Gacioch's time at Niagara University included him being a part-time bible salesman, being elected to the student council every year, being elected president of his class, and even introducing future vice-president Hubert Humphrey for a lecture at the campus. He also previously served on the university's Board of Trustees.

Gacioch is no stranger to donating to his alma mater. In 2012, the family donated $2 million which facilitated the renovation of Meade Hall into the Gacioch Family Alumni and Admissions Center. In 1999, William also donated $1 million for the renovation of St. Vincent's Hall.

The university has honored Gacioch in the past with an honorary degree in 2007, the Dunleavy Award in 2011, the Father John J. Lynch Award in 2000 along with Nancy, and the family was honored with the St. Vincent de Paul Award at the Niagara University President's Dinner in 2010

What makes Gacioch care about his alma mater is that it cares about the students and the qualities that it teaches them.

"I was so impressed with the quality of person that I met and alumni that I met," Gacioch said. "Not only were they successful in their endeavors that they learned in courses, but they were quality people, honest people, decent people."