Gold Jacket Bill Polian Among Niagara University Commencement Honorees

Niagara University’s 2017 schedule of commencement ceremonies will be highlighted by addresses from the 2016 National Teacher of the Year, a Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee and the author of the acclaimed biography Alexander Hamilton, which was adapted into a smash hit musical.

Niagara University will hold four commencement events – two for undergraduates – as well as a special liturgy and ROTC commissioning, all of which will take place on the upper level of the Gallagher Center. In addition, the 64th class of the Niagara County Law Enforcement Academy will graduate during a ceremony in the Castellani Art Museum.

Approximately 1,100 academic degrees are expected to be awarded.

Bill Polian, Pro Football Hall of Famer and celebrated ESPN personality, will deliver the commencement address to Niagara University’s colleges of Business Administration, Education, and Hospitality and Tourism Management at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 13.

Polian spent 32 seasons in the NFL, during which time he earned the reputation of rebuilding franchises into dominant playoff teams. He was the architect of the Buffalo Bills teams that participated in a record four consecutive Super Bowls and, as the president and GM of the Indianapolis Colts, the person responsible for selecting Peyton Manning in the 1998 NFL Draft. The Colts played in two Super Bowls – winning one – with Manning at quarterback.  In 2009, Polian became the first six-time recipient of the NFL Executive of the Year award from The Sporting News. He was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2015. Since 2012, Polian has appeared on ESPN’s NFL Insiders, NFL Live and SportsCenter. He and his wife, Eileen, have been devoted supporters of Catholic education, particularly at St. Francis High School in Buffalo, where, along with others, they have spearheaded efforts toward completion of the school’s athletic complex redevelopment project. Polian will receive an honorary Doctor of Commercial Science from Niagara.

Other Honorees include: Michael Tobin, an international correspondent for FOX News, who will be granted an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Ron Chernow, one of the pre-eminent biographers of his generation best known for writing Alexander Hamilton, the acclaimed book that was adapted into the Tony and Grammy Award-winning musical, the Very Rev. Michael Carroll, C.M., ’73, who is concluding a nine-year term as provincial superior of the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians), will be presented with the Caritas Medal.