Roberts Wesleyan College announced Thursday that it has received the largest gift in the college’s history, $7.5 million.
The gift comes from local philanthropist and Paychex founder Tom Golisano, who also donated $5 million to Roberts in 2001 for a college library.
This latest donation will help fund the construction of a $13.5 million Community Engagement Center. College officials say the two-story facility will serve as a hub for community groups and students interacting together as well as provide space for Roberts’ training and education programs.
Golisano says he’s been a fan of Roberts Wesleyan for a long time, and he thinks the new center, which includes an institute that will focus on support for small and medium sized businesses is a great idea.
“It gives them an opportunity to interact with people, to learn from their ideas, their creativity and reciprocate. So I think it’s a great idea and a great concept, and I think a lot of business people will take advantage of it,”Golisano said.
The ‘Business Solutions Institute’ is one of four institutes that are part of Roberts’ newly-launched Community Institutes.
Others focus on public safety, language competence and intellectual and spiritual humility.
Roberts Wesleyan president Deana Porterfield says the center will help the college continue to serve the area’s educational needs.
“For Tom to see the vision of bringing together both the community and our student community and put those together into a building…but as you know, this is the largest gift in our history and so we are just celebrating the partnership with Tom and the future partners that we will make in this building and as we serve the community of Rochester,” Porterfield said.
Construction is scheduled to begin next year and be completed in the fall of 2021.