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Niagara president gains NCAA influence

Niagara president Rev. James J. Maher, an avid runner, will be joining the NCAA Division I Board of Directors.

Niagara President Rev. James J. Maher, an avid runner, will be joining the NCAA Division I Board of Directors.

Niagara University's president, the Rev. James J. Maher, has been named to the NCAA Division I board of directors, the university announced Wednesday.

The NCAA board of directors has 24 members and serves as the overall governing body for Division I, with responsibility for strategy, policy, governance and membership, legislative oversight and management oversight.

“I look forward to working with Father Maher as a member of the Division I board of directors,” said NCAA President Mark Emmert. “The board’s focus on strategic issues and student-athlete engagement will benefit from not only his leadership, but also his background in student services and social activism.”

The appointment runs through 2020 and is another sign of Maher's strong interest in athletics. Maher currently serves as the MAAC representative on the NCAA’s presidential forum committee. He was named Niagara's president in March 2013. The board currently is comprised of 20 college presidents or chief executive officers, one athletic director, one senior woman administrator, one faculty representative and one student athlete.

"I’m humbled by President Emmert’s appointment and eager to advance my involvement with the NCAA,” said Maher, an avid runner who has completed 11 New York City marathons. “At Niagara University, and across the country, we know that the student experience is significantly enhanced through intercollegiate athletics and serves as a major source of pride for alumni.”

Before joining Niagara, Maher served for 23 years at St. John's University, rising to the position of executive vice president for mission and student services.

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