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College of Holy Cross receives record $32.5 million gift

The College of the Holy Cross announced Tuesday that it had received the largest single donation in its 172-year history, a $32.5 million gift from an alumnus and his wife that will go toward renovating and expanding the school's athletics and recreation facilities.

The donation is from John E. Luth, founder of the Seabury Group, a global advisory and financial firm, and his wife, Joanne Chouinard-Luth. They said they were inspired after an anonymous donor gave $15 million to the Worcester college.

The Jesuit liberal-arts school now has $52 million in gifts and pledges toward its renovation of the Hart Center, which is slated to cost $87 million. The college said the athletics center is central to the school's commitment to provide exceptional an experience for student athletics and to compete at the Division I level.


Luth, who earned an economics degree in 1974, said in an interview that his Holy Cross education provided him with "significant advantages that allowed me to achieve success in so many ways beyond just the business world."

Luth said the donation was "an overdue investment for the college."

"No one had done it yet," he said. "So we are delighted to be a part of it."

He said an updated athletics center is important for teams that need a space to practice during the cold winter months.

Chouinard-Luth said she thinks it is important for not only there to be a community space devoted to fitness and exercise, but it also drives the community in a healthier direction.

"It creates leaders who can do all the best, with more energy," she said.

Athletics Director Nathan Pine declared it "an exciting day for Holy Cross,'' which has 27 varsity teams and more than 750 student athletes.

"We are optimistic with the Luths' gift and the anonymous donor that we might be able to put a shovel into the ground next spring," Pine said.


Rebecca Fiore can be reached at rebecca.fiore@globe.com.