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Mary Valentine, an adviser in Niagara University's Academic Exploration Program since 1992, has been selected as one of eight recipients of the 2001 National Academic Advising Association Outstanding Adviser Award. This honor is annually awarded to only a handful of top college advisers across North America.

Valentine was nominated for the award not only by several administrators at Niagara University, but also by a number of students who have benefited from her counseling.

Valentine acknowledged that all students should be given the opportunity to identify and develop their talents, as each has contributions he can make.

She is an alumna of Niagara University with a master's degree in counseling. She also has a bachelor's degree in physical education from Pennsylvania State University. She worked as an adviser at Bryant & Stratton and as a classroom and physical education teacher for many years before coming to Niagara University.

Valentine is also an active member of her home community of Akron, where she has served as a village trustee, Planning Board member, soccer league committee member and referee, and chairwoman of the Akron-Newstead Recreation Committee.

Valentine and her husband, Tom, have two children and two grandchildren.

Victoria DeVantier of Lewiston has been selected as a 2001 New York State "Woman of Distinction."

DeVantier was honored Tuesday in Albany, and her photograph and biography will be displayed in a special public exhibit in the Legislative Office Building.

State Sen. George D. Maziarz, R-North Tonawanda, called DeVantier "the consummate volunteer who never hesitates to lend a hand whenever and wherever help is needed."

DeVantier has a fondness for children, especially those with special challenges. In addition to her work as a school monitor specializing in inclusion supervision at Lewiston-Porter South Elementary School, she was also a skating instructor with the Skating Association for the Blind and Handicapped for five years. She has been recognized for her work with the Special Olympics, the National Down Syndrome Society's Buddy Walk of Niagara and the Variety Club of Buffalo.

In addition, DeVantier serves as a member of the American Cancer Society Relay for Life committee, volunteers for the Niagara Falls Festival of Lights and is active with the St. Francis Guild of Mount St. Mary's Hospital and Messiah Lutheran Church's Lutheran Church Women.

She and her husband, Edward, are the parents of two daughters.

For the third consecutive year, the Niagara University student chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management was recognized for excellence by its national organization and was awarded a merit award for the 2000-2001 school year.

Since its founding in 1997, the Niagara University Society for Human Resource Management has won two merit awards and one superior merit award. The national organization stated that this year's merit award entries reflect an impressive variety of programs offered by student chapters such as mentor programs, internship programs, company visits, shadow days, research projects and student conferences. All the awards reflect the dedicated efforts of students seeking careers in human resource management.

Chapter officers who collaborated on the award appliation include: Patrick Murray, president; Kim Mohney, vice president; and Matt Klein, chapter president-elect. The chapter adviser is Roland Kidwell, assistant professor of management at the university.

Cynthia M. Sgro, a nurse attendent in EmStar at Mount St. Mary's Hospital who is studying to be a registered nurse, was awarded the St. Francis Guild Nursing Scholarship in the amount of $500.

Sgro is a nursing student at Niagara County Community College and hopes to continue working at Mount St. Mary's after her graduation in 2002. She is also a member of the Youngstown Volunteer Fire Company and has completed firefighter training and Emergency Medical Technician training through Niagara University.

She and her family live in Youngstown.

Niagara University honored the children of Armand and Eleanor Castellani at its recent undergraduate ceremony.

All 11 children received the Founder's Award, an honor established in 1988 and given to "friends of Niagara University with affection, respect and admiration for their service to the university and the community."

The Castellani children were recognized for continuing a family tradition of philanthropy established by their parents, the founders of the Castellani Art Museum on the Niagara University campus.

Also honored were: Paul Beeston, president of Major League Baseball, who received an honorary doctor of commercial science, and the Rev. Francis X. Prior, Niagara University's vice president emeritus of development and university relations, who received the President's Medal for his longtime service to the university.

Honorary degrees were also given to speakers Chris Matthews, the television host of "Hardball With Chris Matthews," and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, educator and lawyer, Roger Wilkins.

The John Templeton Foundation Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences' science and religion course program recently announced a grant award of $10,000 to fund the development of a new course that focuses on the ongoing dialogue between science and religion at Niagara University.

The Rev. Gregory Klein, Niagara University associate professor of religious studies and the university honors coordinator, received the award for his course titled "Religion and Science."

Klein developed the course as a result of studying last June at St. Ann's College, Oxford University, England, and will use the grant funds for the purchase of library and media resources related to the new religion course.

Klein has also been awarded a John Templeton Foundation Fellowship to study "Eschatology, Immortality and the Future of the Cosmos" at the University of California at Berkeley this month.

Richard J. Faiola, vice president of Shipman Printing and a longtime member of Mount St. Mary's Hospital and Health Center's Board of Associates, recently received the "Special Board of Associates Member Recognition Award" at the 36th annual Hewitt Sports Scholarship Dinner.

Faiola, a resident of Wheatfield, was honored in remarks by Linus Ormsby, president of the board of associates, who said, "He has been an integral part of the board for almost 20 years, serving as treasurer, secretary and chairman or co-chairman of every event. He doesn't seek the limelight; he goes quietly and efficiently about doing anything he can to help the board and Mount St. Mary's. He truly embodies the hospital's values of integrity, respect, creativity and compassion."

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