June 9, 2015

Alumnus makes largest gift to Holy Cross in its history

John E. Luth and his wife, Dr. Joanne Chouinard-Luth, have donated $32.5 million to the College of the Holy Cross, the school announced Tuesday.

The gift, part of which will be used for athletic-facility upgrades, is the largest single donation in the history of the Worcester school.

Luth is a 1974 graduate and a Missouri native. He is founder, CEO and chairman of Seabury Group, a global advisory and investment company specializing in the aviation and aerospace industries.

$7.5 million of the contribution is slated to help revamp the school's aging Field House into a modern recreational facility for the campus.

The donation was timed to take part in the college's current fundraising campaign to renovate both the Field House and the Hart Recreation Center, which is the school's main athletic facility. An anonymous donor gave $15 million to the campaign — "Become More: Campaign for the Future of Holy Cross" — and said an additional $5 million would be given if a total of $60 million were raised by September. The Luths' $7.5 million brings the gifts and pledges for the two projects to $59.5 million, the college said.

The Hart Center renovation, estimated at $87 million, could begin in spring 2016 if construction costs come in as expected, the college said.

Regarding the gift, Holy Cross President the Rev. Philip L. Boroughs said: "John and Joanne's example of leadership and support — to help expand, renovate and update our athletics facilities — enhances an essential element of the Jesuit educational mission to educate the whole person. It is important that our athletics facilities and program reflect the same standard of excellence we expect in everything we do at Holy Cross. I am grateful for the Luths' generosity and that of our anonymous donor whose timing inspired them."

"My years at Holy Cross were truly transformational for me, and I am grateful to be in a position to pay forward to the Holy Cross community for the many kindnesses given to me, particularly by the Jesuit order," Luth said in the statement from his alma mater. "My Holy Cross education provided me with significant advantages that allowed me to achieve success in so many ways beyond just the business world."

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