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  • John and Kathy Purcess

    December 08, 2015

    Gift of $6.5 million by John '65 and Kathy '66 Purcell Renames Le Moyne's School of Professional Studies

    Le Moyne College has announced a gift of $6.5 million -- the third largest in its history -- from John ’65 and Kathy ’66 Purcell, a Rochester couple who met while students at the College. In recognition of this extraordinary gift, the College has renamed its School of Graduate and Professional Studies as The Kathy & John Purcell School of Professional Studies.

    Thanks to their generosity, the Purcell name and reputation will forever be connected to Le Moyne, which continues to play a prominent role in both their professional and personal lives. John has contributed significantly to the Madden School of Business, while Kathy’s background in health care helped guide their decision to support Le Moyne’s successful and growing professional programs.

    "Since we first set foot on campus as students and throughout our time as alumni, this wonderful Jesuit institution has been a central part of our lives for more than 50 years," said the Purcells. "We are so blessed to be able to give back to our alma mater in such a meaningful and significant way and to say thank you for all that Le Moyne has meant to us."

    ”I am so grateful to Kathy and John for this wonderful gift to the College,” said President Linda LeMura. “Naming a school is perhaps the most distinctive and powerful way to provide meaningful and enduring support to an institution of higher education. The resources available to a named school help attract the very best faculty and provide many of the things necessary to sustain and enhance strengths and to seize opportunities to meet changing market needs.”

    The Purcell School of Professional Studies incorporates some of Le Moyne’s most competitive and highly recognized programs, including physician assistant studies, education and nursing, as well as newer programs such as occupational therapy and family nurse practitioner. The Purcells’ generosity can be used in a variety of ways, including scholarships and facility and technological needs. The money may also be used to help develop future programs within the school, as well as to fund faculty or student research or travel, or a guest-speaker series.

    “This gift will be transformational for the School,” said Dennis DePerro, Ed.D., dean of the Purcell School of Professional Studies. “It will increase broad awareness not only for the school, but for all of Le Moyne College. On behalf of everyone within the school, I would like to thank the Purcells for this incredible investment in the future of professional programs at Le Moyne.”

    John worked his entire career in the telecommunications industry. Joining the personnel department of the Rochester Telephone Company the day after graduating from Le Moyne, he spent 32 years with the company (which later became Frontier), rising to the position of vice president for mergers and acquisitions. After retiring from Frontier, John partnered with Time Warner Cable executive Frank Chiaino to form Fibertech Networks LLS, which designs, builds, leases and operates fiber optic networks, with a strategy of “building out” within a half-mile of big customers such as hospitals and colleges in smaller cities and then promote the convenience to other clients of faster, consistent Internet service that are close by and readily accessible. Over the next 15 years, Fibertech grew to 28 cities, growing at a rate of one or two per year, increasing the number of employees to approximately 350.

    In 2015, John helped negotiate the merger of Fibertech and Lightower in a $1.9 billion cash transaction, which also assured that all Fibertech employees would be able to retain their jobs. In 2013, Le Moyne honored John with the Frank Fernandez Business Leader of the Year and the following year he was recognized as the Telecommunications CEO of the Year by Capacity magazine.

    A 1966 Le Moyne graduate, Kathy holds a Master of Public Administration in health care management and works as a clinic administrator at the Kirch Developmental Services Center, part of the University of Rochester Medical System. She manages the intake process and the day-to-day operation of the program. Kathy’s professional career has been spent helping to ensure that the families of children with developmental disabilities have access to both diagnostic and community-based services. She was a member of the board of regents at Le Moyne from 2002 to 2009 and currently serves on the advisory council for the Purcell School of Professional Studies. In June 2011, she received the Ignatian Award for Professional Achievement from Le Moyne.

    In addition to the $6.5 million gift, as a result of their contribution of shares of Fibertech in 2012 and 2015, the College also benefitted from that company’s growth, which resulted in investment gains of an additional $1 million.
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