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The McDevitt Center


Supported by a $50 million gift from the estate of Robert and Kay McDevitt, the McDevitt Center is intended to position Le Moyne as a leading regional and national sponsor of high-impact programs and initiatives that advance awareness of the latest research in computer science, management/information systems, physics, and religious philosophy. Each of the Center’s initiatives is developed in conjunction with, and led by, a nationally/internationally prominent individual who is working at the forefront of one of these disciplinary areas. Those invited to lead initiatives through the McDevitt Center will be appointed as McDevitt Chair in the relevant discipline. 



Endowed McDevitt Chairs

As a research center, the McDevitt Center is anchored in our endowed McDevitt Chairs in Computer Science, Management/Information Systems, Physics, and Religious Philosophy. These chairs represent the heart of all of the McDevitt Center’s faculty programming and initiatives.


All other programs and initiatives directly supported by the McDevitt Center are oriented and informed by the questions, projects, and challenges engaged by the occupants of these chairs and are intended to bring distinction to these chairs and enhance their value to Le Moyne College.

Given the central and shaping role they play, the McDevitt Chairs will be occupied in short-term appointments by eminent thinkers and researchers who are at the forefront of their disciplines and whose work exemplifies the central goals and values of the McDevitt Center: their work will cut across disciplinary boundaries and transforms disciplinary self-understandings; engage emerging developments, perennial questions, or grand-challenges; enrich the research and teaching of Le Moyne’s regular faculty and enhance the education of our students; and demonstrate a mindful regard for values and a commitment to using research to positively impact our world.

Responsibilities of the McDevitt Chairs will (in most cases) include:

  • Working directly with both undergraduate and graduate students by, for example, addressing relevant courses, offering Core Lectures, working with students in the Integral Honors Program, mentoring individual students, etc.;
  • Offering a “master-class” to Le Moyne faculty that will also be open to faculty from other area colleges and universities and to selected members of the wider community;
  • Assisting relevant Le Moyne faculty to advance and develop their own research; Offering one (or more) public lectures related to their work;
  • Organizing a significant national or international conference to be held at Le Moyne during their tenure as McDevitt Chair;
  • Acting as ambassadors for Le Moyne College and the McDevitt Center.




  • New Initiative: McDevitt Undergraduate Research Fellows in Natural Science   

    In recognition of the vital role of hands-on laboratory and field research experience in undergraduate education in the natural science and in order to help support the growth of undergraduate research at Le Moyne College, Father George V. Coyne, McDevitt Chair in Physics, and the McDevitt Center will launch a new initiative beginning in the fall semester of 2014: McDevitt Undergraduate Research Fellows in Natural Science.

    This initiative will provide research stipends of $4,000 to as many as 10 Le Moyne College undergraduates McDevitt Fellows per year and also support a monthly research seminar for these Fellows and their faculty sponsors hosted by Father Coyne.

  •

    Program Outline:
    • Open to continuing Le Moyne College students majoring in any of the natural science with a GPA of at least 3.3;
    • Candidates must be nominated by a Le Moyne College professor who will serve as their research sponsor and mentor;
    • Nominations must include a brief description of the specific research project to be undertaken, the role of the McDevitt Fellow in the research, and expected results (e.g. published paper, conference presentation, etc.);
    • Fellows and faculty sponsors will attend a monthly research seminar/lunch hosted by Father Coyne;
    • Fellows will engage in hands-on laboratory or field research with their faculty sponsor (at least some of this research must take place during the academic year but it may continue into the summer following the academic year);
    • Fellows and advisors will submit joint reports on research progress to Father Coyne and to the Director of the McDevitt Center at the close of each semester and the summer research period;
    • Fellows will present their work at Le Moyne’s Scholar’s Day and, where appropriate, at a professional conference or other professional venue;
    • Fellows and their faculty sponsors will appropriately acknowledge the support of the McDevitt Chair in Physics and the McDevitt Center in any published work stemming from the supported research.

    Important Dates:
    •  Nominations must be received by September 30.  Letters of nomination should be sent to Father George V. Coyne, McDevitt Chair of Physics, and the Director of the McDevitt Center.
    •  Selection of McDevitt Fellows will be made by October 7.
    •  Research Seminar will begin meeting in October.


History of the Center

The McDevitt Center is supported by a $50 million gift to Le Moyne College by Robert and Catherine McDevitt of Binghamton, New York.


Catherine McDevitt passed away in April 2008 and Robert McDevitt died in September 2008.


The McDevitts were of deep Catholic faith and were long-time friends of Le Moyne College and its Jesuit heritage. Robert McDevitt's cousin, the late Rev. Edward L. McDevitt, SJ, was one of five Jesuit professors who established Le Moyne's physics department after the College was founded in 1946. Robert McDevitt himself had been Regent Emeritus since 1972 and served as a member of the College's Board of Trustees from 1977 to 1980. In 1978, he was awarded an honorary degree - Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa - from Le Moyne.

Robert McDevitt was owner of McDevitt Brothers Funeral Home, a business his grandfather founded in Binghamton in 1880. Though the mortuary business is well-respected and successful, their financial fortune was not derived from it. Robert McDevitt's mother was the secretary to A. Ward Ford, founder of a company that ultimately became part of IBM. He inherited the shares of company stock his mother had acquired, and then spent 70 years accumulating more shares.

Despite their quite considerable fortune, the McDevitts lived simple and unassuming lives grounded in the same Jesuit values taught at Le Moyne College and exemplified by its faculty, staff, students and graduates. The McDevitt Endowment and the McDevitt Center for Creativity and Innovation that it funds will help transform Le Moyne College. By establishing Le Moyne College as a dynamic center for creative research that addresses vital issues and is informed by enduring values, the McDevitt Center will accelerate the college’s move to a higher academic tier and dramatically enhance its standing among colleges and universities.