Diane Colucci ’70 was a child growing up in Syracuse when a severe snowstorm hit the city. Travel was dangerous, leaving many confined to the safety of their homes. Sheltering in place was not an option for Colucci’s father, Martin Lesser. A handyman and cook for the College’s Jesuit community, Lesser knew that if he could not find a way to campus, there would not be anything for the priests to eat. And so, he did what he had to do. Lesser caught a ride on a snowplow, made it to the Jesuit residence, and remained there throughout the storm, cooking and laughing with the Jesuits.
The story became a family legend. Decades later, Colucci remembers it clearly. The incident taught her the importance of thinking of others, honoring your responsibilities and never giving up. She carried those lessons with her during her time as a student on the Heights, where she majored in economics before going on to enjoy a successful 30-year career in the banking industry. Today, Colucci recalls Le Moyne as a place where she was introduced to new ways of thinking about the world, forged friendships and developed confidence in her abilities as a professional. Colucci later earned her MBA in management and became a certified financial planner.
The first member of her family to earn a college degree, Colucci is a member of the College’s President’s Club, which is comprised of alumni and friends who make an annual gift of $1,000 or more to Le Moyne. Her generosity – combined with that of others – makes it possible for the College to provide financial assistance to outstanding, deserving students who otherwise might not be able to afford a Le Moyne education; to hire dedicated, engaged faculty who can speak not just to their students’ classroom contributions, but to their dreams; and to offer an enriching campus life that nurtures students’ personal, intellectual and social development. In short, Colucci’s gift enables future generations of Dolphins to enjoy the same Le Moyne experience that has served her well, and to learn to think clearly, solve problems and communicate effectively.
“Le Moyne has played a special role in my story and in my family’s story,” Colucci says. “My parents instilled in me how important it is to give back, and that lesson was reinforced during my time on the Heights. I am happy to be able to pay it forward in this way.”
Gifts to the President’s Club are part of the $100 million Always Forward campaign, which was publicly announced in June of 2018.