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.