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06/30/2006
Hudson Valley Community College Foundation Receives Largest-Ever Gift from an Alumnus Photo Available

Member of the Class of 1955 remembers his college days fondly

CONTACT: Janine Kava (518) 629-8071 or (518) 248-4555 - cell
FOR RELEASE: Immediate, Friday, June 30, 2006

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The Hudson Valley Community College Foundation today announced that it has received the single-largest gift made to the Foundation by an alumnus, and the $480,000 donation will strengthen a general endowment to benefit the college and enhance the college's Electrical Construction and Maintenance program.

Class of 1955 graduate Robert Pratt, an AT&T retiree who lives in Albany, donated two life insurance policies to the college, and proceeds from the policies will be used in three ways:

  • To enhance a general endowment to benefit the college ($360,000);

  • To establish an endowment to benefit the college's Electrical Construction and Maintenance program ($100,000); and

  • To establish an endowed fund that will produce a President's Circle-level gift to the Foundation's Annual Fund each year in perpetuity. President Circle gifts total at least $1,000 annually ($20,000). Gifts to the Annual Fund are unrestricted, and allow the college to fund unmet needs and seize unexpected opportunities.

"The Foundation truly is grateful to Mr. Pratt for his tremendous generosity and his decision to make a significant investment in Hudson Valley Community College's future," Foundation President Sarah M. Boggess said. Foundation Fact Sheet.

Giving the historic gift was an easy decision for Pratt, a member of the college's first graduating class: "That's where I got my exposure to electronics… I hope some students, current or forthcoming, will be able to use what's there," he said, unassumingly.

Leonora Pratt (top, center) with one of her Hoosick Falls elementary classes. Ms. Pratt taught for 38 years and instilled in her son, Robert Pratt, the importance of education.
Leonora Pratt (top, center) with one of her Hoosick Falls elementary classes. Ms. Pratt taught for 38 years and instilled in her son, Robert Pratt, the importance of education.

Robert Pratt Leonora Pratt
Robert Pratt Leonora Pratt
To recognize Pratt's generosity, the college also announced today that it has named its electronics laboratory in Room 104 of Williams Hall after Pratt and his mother, Leonora, an elementary school teacher who taught her son the importance of education.

The lab will be formally known as the "Robert '55 and Leonora Pratt Electrical/Electronics Laboratory." The college's Board of Trustees voted in January to name the lab after the Pratts.

Pratt will be inducted in October as a member of the Foundation's Heritage Society, which recognizes individuals who have provided, or plan to provide, charitable gifts through bequests, trusts or other life income gifts.

Pratt graduated from the college's Electrical Technology program, a precursor to the current Electrical Construction and Maintenance program, which is one of 18 offered through the college's School of Engineering and Industrial Technologies. In the Fall 2005 semester, 164 students were enrolled in the Electrical Construction and Maintenance program. The Class of 2006 had 35 Electrical Construction and Maintenance graduates.

"This gift will allow the college to keep pace with technology needed in the lab," said Joseph Sarubbi, chairman of the college's Electrical Construction and Maintenance Department. "It will ensure we have the best equipment."

Pratt enrolled at the Hudson Valley Technical Institute – the precursor to the college – after serving two hitches in the U.S. Army during the Korean War. A friend convinced him to attend – and Pratt then convinced a Vermont banker who had never heard of the school to loan him $500 so he could enroll.

"He said, "Come on, you'll like it,'" said Pratt, recalling the conversation with his buddy. "And I did, we did…. The teachers were very helpful, very energetic and well-picked for their jobs."

Upon graduation, Pratt and six classmates were recruited by AT&T, where he worked for 33 years, testing and maintaining telephone circuits at the company's location on State Street in Albany.

The Hudson Valley Community College Foundation is a not-for-profit charitable corporation formed in 1983 to philanthropically support the college's mission. Gifts to the Foundation from alumni, corporations and friends are used to enhance programs, facilities and scholarship opportunities at the college.

Founded in 1953, Hudson Valley Community College offers more than 60 degree and certificate programs in four schools: Business; Engineering and Industrial Technologies; Health Sciences; and Liberal Arts and Sciences, as well as programs run through the Educational Opportunity Center offering certification programs in workforce and academic preparation. One of 30 community colleges in the State University of New York system, it has an enrollment of more than 12,000 students, and it is known as a leader in distance learning initiatives and worker retraining. Hudson Valley has more than 60,000 alumni.


Hudson Valley Community College Foundation Fact Sheet

  • The Hudson Valley Community College Foundation is a not-for-profit charitable corporation formed in 1983 to philanthropically support the college's mission. The Foundation is governed by a 22-member Board of Directors. The college's vice president for institutional advancement, Sarah M. Boggess, also serves as Foundation president.

  • Philanthropic support to Hudson Valley Community College and its charitable foundation totaled $771,323 during the 2004-05 academic year.

  • The $480,000 gift by Robert Pratt is the single-largest gift by an individual in the Foundation's history. In 2000, the Athens Generating Company, a competitive merchant power producer located in Greene County, donated the largest charitable gift in the college's history, $1 million to fund scholarships and equipment needs.

  • Other notable donations to the Foundation in the past two years include:

    • $30,000 from the Marine Corps Coordinating Council of the Capital Region to establish an endowment to fund scholarships for Marine Corps reservists.

    • $10,000 from the Citizens Bank Foundation to fund scholarships for local, low-income students who take College in the High School courses, and create the basis of an endowment that will be used to benefit future scholarships and development of the program.

    • $5,000 each from the Bank of America Foundation, the Cohoes Savings Bank Foundation and the Troy Savings Bank Foundation, to provide scholarships for low-income children who attend the college's summer camp programs. The college offers a variety of athletic and educational summer camps for children ranging in age from five to 18.

    • $1,000 from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to benefit the Maureen Stapleton Theatre Fund, an endowment created in 2000 to support capital improvements to a 350-seat, on-campus theatre, which the college named for the actress in 1981. A Troy native, Stapleton received the Golden Globe in 1971; she was a childhood friend of Dr. Joseph J. Bulmer, the college's president at the time of the dedication.