Bridget Niland, director of athletics at Daemen College, was honored as recipient of the 2016 Athena Young Professional Leadership Award at the 26th annual Athena Awards Luncheon presented by the Buffalo Niagara Partnership at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center.
Niland is the first recipient from higher education to receive the Athena Young Professional Leadership Award, which was introduced to the awards program in 2009.
One of two awards announced at the luncheon, the Young Professional Leadership Award honors emerging leaders who demonstrate excellence, creativity and initiative in their business or profession, provide valuable service by contributing time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community, and who clearly serve as role models for young women personally and professionally.
Niland was selected for the Athena Young Professional Leadership Award from a group of five finalists. Other finalists were Kellena Kane, real estate development manager at Uniland Development Co.; Cindi McEachon, executive director of Peaceprints of Western New York; Morgan Williams-Bryant, senior vice president of membership and programs at Girl Scouts of Western New York; and Pamela Witter , vice president of development and community engagement at Trocaire College.
“This prestigious award is a testament to Bridget’s exemplary leadership, tireless advocacy and dedication to Daemen and the Buffalo Niagara region,” said Daemen President Gary A. Olson. “Without question, she embodies the highest professional excellence by generously giving her time and talent to students, and she serves as an exceptional role model for women throughout our community.”
A member of the Daemen faculty since 2006, Niland was named to her current post as leader of the Athletic Department in July 2014. Her appointment came at a critical juncture as she was able to steer Daemen Athletics through the final stages of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II membership process, culminating in the college’s announcement last summer that it had indeed gained active membership status to complete a four-year initiative.
In addition to her daily responsibilities with Daemen Athletics, Niland continues to serve Daemen as an associate professor in the Business Administration Department where she oversees the sport management specialization and business law curriculum. She also teaches in an adjunct capacity at the University at Buffalo Law School, UB Graduate School of Education and Niagara University. She additionally provides consultation services to the NCAA national office, and works with USA Collegiate Sports, an affiliate of Harris Beach, PLLC.
A longtime member of the Independent Health YMCA Board of Directors, Niland recently accepted a Board of Directors position with Visit Buffalo Niagara. She has also been named to Buffalo Business First’s Power 100 Women, a ranking of the most influential women in Western New York.
Before coming to Daemen, Niland worked as associate director of academic and membership affairs at NCAA headquarters in Indianapolis, Ind. Her stint there came after time spent working as a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington, D.C, and a two-year federal clerkship with the Honorable John T. Curtin in the Western District of New York.
A 2002 inductee into the UB Athletics Hall of Fame, Niland captained both the cross country and track and field teams during her undergraduate years at UB, helping both teams to multiple conference titles. She holds bachelor’s, master’s and law degrees, all from UB.