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Kathryn Rafter, ’75, Believes in Investing in the Niagara University Experience


Kathryn Rafter believes in Niagara and its future graduates – that is why she recently named NU as the beneficiary for an individual retirement account (IRA). The Class of ’75 grad with a degree in TTT (now the College of Hospitality and Tourism Management), chose Niagara because of the beautiful campus, its size, and friends’ recommendations. At the time, NU offered a Physical Education degree and that appealed to her love of sports.
“I arrived on Mont Eagle Ridge in August of 1971 and couldn’t believe how fun and friendly everyone was. My parents lived in England at the time and worried that I’d be homesick… that didn’t happen at all!”

As a member of the fledgling Womens Basketball and Tennis teams – Kathryn and her teammates pushed for official recognition and resources for women’s intercollegiate sports. It took persistence and working with allies like Betty Kimmel (Dean of Women) and Frank Layden (Athletics Director) to bring about acceptance and endorsement of women’s sports.
By graduation in 1975 – the Department of Athletics approved the first athletic scholarships for women’s teams, opening the door for many talented women athletes. Kathryn still advocates for girls and young women to play sports: “Athletics is a fun, effective way to acquire leadership, discipline, collaboration and communication know-how. These attributes are particularly valuable for young women entering the work force.”

These skills carried her through a long career at American Airlines. In 1992, she founded Atlantic Consulting Partners – an advisory firm specializing in business transformation.

Kathryn’s support for Niagara has grown along with the University’s commitment to women’s athletic programs. She gives credit to Rev. James Maher, and Simon Grey – Director of Athletics, for their vision, values, and the relentless effort to cultivate young adults with a strong work ethic and generous spirit. Kathryn chose to designate the Women’s Basketball Team as the specific recipient of her IRA.

Her memories of her days at Niagara will always surface a smile. “Niagara University is a very special place. The campus is packed with people who are bright, have big hearts and are full of life! Planned giving is an easy way to show gratitude for a great experience and lifelong friendships. The world needs more NU grads! This is a VERY worthwhile investment. ”

Interested in making your own investment? Please contact Marilyn Koren, Office of Planned Giving, at 716.286.8791 or email