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Le Moyne College receives $50 million gift from couple who valued Jesuit education

Syracuse, N.Y. (November 19, 2008) – Le Moyne College has received one of the largest single donations ever made to a Jesuit college or university, Le Moyne President Fred P. Pestello, Ph.D., announced today.

The McDevitt Endowment, currently valued at approximately $50 million, will more than double Le Moyne’s current endowment. It will be dedicated to the academic areas of computer science, information processing, physics and religious philosophy.

The McDevitt Endowment was established by a generous donation from the estate of Robert and Catherine McDevitt of Binghamton, N.Y., long-time friends of Le Moyne College and faithful supporters of Jesuit education. Robert McDevitt’s cousin, the late Rev. Edward L. McDevitt, S.J., helped establish Le Moyne College’s physics department when the college was founded in 1946.

“The McDevitt Endowment is a transformational gift and one of the most significant events in our history,” Dr. Pestello said. “The new McDevitt Endowment will enhance our standing in the national academic community, continue our momentum toward becoming one of the finest institutions of our kind in the country and ensure that Le Moyne remains an excellent value.”

Dr. Pestello, who became Le Moyne’s 13th president in July, said word of the gift came at an ideal time, as the entire campus community is actively engaged in a campus-wide dialogue that will strengthen Le Moyne’s strategic positioning for the future.

“Everyone at Le Moyne – students, faculty and staff – will benefit from the generosity of the McDevitts,” said Dr. Pestello. While the McDevitt Endowment is dedicated to funding professorships, staff, research, technology and other academic expenses in four academic areas, it will eventually free up resources for facilities, programs and services, he said.

Robert McDevitt, owner of McDevitt Brothers Funeral Home in Binghamton, died September 22, 2008, less than six months after his wife, Catherine, passed away. Robert McDevitt’s mother was secretary to A. Ward Ford, founding president of one of the companies that combined to become IBM, and Robert had accumulated company shares over many decades. The majority of the gift will be in IBM stock.

“The McDevitts were humble and lived a very frugal existence,” said Dr. Pestello. “They were grounded in the same Jesuit values taught at Le Moyne College, values exemplified by our faculty, staff, students and alums. The magnitude of their generosity reaffirms the high regard the McDevitts had for Le Moyne’s mission, faculty and academic programs.”

To learn more, go to www.McDevittGift.com

Le Moyne College, located in Syracuse, N.Y., offers a comprehensive program of liberal arts, sciences, pre-professional studies and graduate programs in education, business administration, physician assistant studies and nursing. Recognized for 17 consecutive years by U.S. News & World Report for its quality and value, Le Moyne is one of 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States, and the first to open as a coeducational institution. Le Moyne’s enrollment is approximately 2,300 full-time undergraduate and 700 graduate students.

Contact: Joe Della Posta, Director of Communications & Public Affairs


office 315-445-4564      cell 315-427-0190

posted on: 11/19/2008