PITTSFORD — B. Thomas Golisano and his wife, Heather, have given separate, unrestricted gifts of $3 million each to Our Lady of Mercy High School in Brighton and Bishop Kearney High School in Irondequoit.
The gifts will be distributed in successive annual installments of $1 million, Golisano said.
Golisano, founder and chairman of Paychex Inc. and owner of the Buffalo Sabres, announced the gifts during a March 7 press conference at the Golisano Foundation Offices. He was flanked by Suzanne Johnston, Mercy’s president, and Donna Dedee, Kearney’s president and chief executive officer. Both presidents expressed gratitude to Golisano, noting that the gifts were the single largest donations in the histories of their respective institutions.
“I assure you that we will look most carefully and strategically at this resource,” Johnston said.
“This is a historic moment for Bishop Kearney High School,” Dedee added.
During the conference, Golisano presented each president with a $1 million check and praised both schools for their contributions to the community. He added that two of his grandnieces attend Mercy and noted that both schools educate their students at a lower per-pupil cost than that of the average public high school.
“I think that (Kearney and Mercy) should be praised for the quality of work that they do and the economy with which they do it,” Golisano said.
He added that he chose Kearney and Mercy for the donations because he thought that other Catholic high schools in the Rochester area already had significant financial support.
Mercy, an all-girls school, currently enrolls 638 students in grades seven through 12. Kearney, which is coeducational, currently has 450 students in grades 9 through 12. Both school presidents added that the Golisanos’ gifts will be used to upgrade facilities, improve programs, increase financial aid and scholarships for students, and other initiatives.
In honor of the gift to her school, Johnston added that Mercy will name its media center after Golisano. Dedee said the donation will help attract other donors to Kearney, noting that the school is seeking to secure major gifts through its $7.5 million “Partnership Campaign.”