Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The First Niagara Foundation commits $500,000 to St. Bonaventure University’s School of Business Campaign

The First Niagara Foundation has committed $500,000 to St. Bonaventure University’s School of Business Campaign, the university announced today.   

The First Niagara gift pays tribute to the late William E. Swan, former chair, president and chief executive officer of First Niagara Financial Group, and a 1969 graduate of St. Bonaventure. 
St. Bonaventure is in the midst of a $15 million campaign to construct a 26,000-square-foot building to house its School of Business. The leadership contribution from First Niagara will provide $250,000 toward construction of the building and $250,000 toward an endowment to support academic programs.

“The First Niagara family is honored to establish an endowment in memory of Bill Swan for his devoted service to Western New York as a business leader and philanthropist,” said Elizabeth Gurney, executive director of the First Niagara Foundation.  “Helping to provide the resources to prepare business professionals is important. The new William E. and Ann L. Swan Business Center will be a tremendous asset not only for the campus community but also for Western New York.” 

The University announced Tuesday the center will be named for the Swans.  A groundbreaking will take place on Friday, March 23.
The new center will feature high-tech classrooms, a financial services lab, a state-of-the-art boardroom, and special meeting and office spaces for student groups and faculty. 

Construction of the building will begin by June 2012, with occupancy set for fall 2013. 

“The Swan Business Center is a key element in our overall strategic plan,” said Sr. Margaret Carney, O.S.F., S.T.D., president of the university.  “We have seen firsthand the power of new facilities on our campus, and know that investing in this building will position us to better compete for high-quality students and faculty who want to be part of a unique and distinctive scholarly environment."

The $15 million campaign will provide: $10 million for the construction of the new business center; $4 million in endowments for faculty and programmatic support to ensure a vibrant intellectual community; and $1 million for building endowment.

More than $13 million has been raised under the leadership of Robert Daugherty, ’77, University trustee and campaign chair.
“We are grateful for the financial commitments that have been made to date,” said Mr. Daugherty, a retired partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.  “Now we need the leverage of many.  We need the help of our alumni, parents and friends to make this campaign a success.” 

St. Bonaventure’s School of Business is among a select group of business schools (20 percent) in the U.S. and a very select group (5 percent) internationally to hold accreditation by the Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). 

“We are in demand,” said Carol Fischer, Ph.D., dean of the School of Business, adding that some 30 percent of St. Bonaventure’s student body is composed of business majors.

“Our faculty, students and graduates have made the case for this new building,” Dr. Fischer said.  “They have demonstrated through academic excellence and through success in the business realm that St. Bonaventure’s School of Business is world-class quality. Reaching our goal in this campaign will enable us to maintain and build upon our traditional strengths, as well as develop new strengths in our distinctive niches such as service learning.”

The gift from First Niagara is among more than 300 commitments made to the campaign.

First Niagara, through its wholly owned subsidiary, First Niagara Bank, N.A., is a multi-state community-oriented bank that currently has approximately $33 billion in assets, $19 billion in deposits, more than 330 branches and 5,000 employees providing financial services to individuals, families and businesses across Upstate New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts. For more information, visit

Donations to the campaign may be made by visiting or by calling (800) 664-1273.  

For more on the William E. and Ann L. Swan Business Center and the School of Business Campaign, go to

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