The Promise of Niagara

Partnering for Progress: Barnes & Nobles

Stepping forward with a generous gift to Niagara University’s capital campaign was a natural move for Barnes & Noble.
The company has been the vendor for the campus bookstore since 1983, and its relationship with NU is more than just business, according to Steve Falke, director of stores for Barnes & Noble.

“We’ve been fortunate to always be partners in progress here with NU,” he said. “The university has always made us a part of the process.”

Falke has been on campus many times in the 10 years that he’s overseen the partnership. He’s impressed with the university’s growth and the plans for continued growth the capital campaign represents. “As you’ve grown, our store has grown, too.”

That’s why, when asked to join the excitement of a development campaign, it was easy for him to say yes.

The Barnes & Noble gift will be divided three ways. The majority will fund a high-tech model classroom on the first floor of the College of Education wing in the new academic complex. Because of the size of this gift, Barnes & Noble will have naming rights for the classroom. The remainder of the gift will go for career development and school activities and recreation.

Philanthropic activity is nothing new for Barnes & Noble. “From our perspective, our bookstore is more than just a business. It’s part of the campus community, and we believe that it’s important to give back to that community,” Falke said.

At the campus bookstore, there’s a predominance of purple and white, NU’s colors, in everything from sportswear to gift items. Student workers are smiling and helpful. Those interested in a bookstore career can apply for the Barnes & Noble Best Sellers Program, which provides management training and assistance in finding a bookstore position after graduation.

Jennifer Kuehl Nagelhout, a member of the NU Class of ’98, wasn’t in the Best Sellers program, but Barnes & Noble was the first company she interviewed with after graduation. Hired as assistant manager at the D’Youville bookstore, within a year she was promoted to manager at the NU bookstore, a position she has held for eight years. “I absolutely love this job,” she said.