Wilmots give gift of $6 million to Syracuse University’s L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science
Wilmots give gift of $6 million to Syracuse University’s L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science October 22, 2007Kelly Homan Rodoskikahoman@syr.edu
A Syracuse University trustee and alumnus and his wife have made a $6 million gift to the University that will strengthen SU’s critical initiatives in built environments and entrepreneurship. Thomas C. Wilmot Sr. ’70 and Colleen L. Wilmot, of Pittsford, an eastern suburb of Rochester, have given the gift to the L.C. Smith College of Engineering and Computer Science (LCS).
“I am so pleased to have the opportunity to give back to the University that has meant so much to me and my family over the years,” says Wilmot. “Colleen and I feel it is a privilege to support two of the most important components of the University — the faculty and the students — with this gift. This is how we feel we can best support the University’s vision of Scholarship in Action.”
Of the overall gift, $3 million will be used to establish The Thomas and Colleen Wilmot Endowed Chair at Syracuse University. The college plans to recruit a highly accomplished expert in the development of engineered systems for built environments who will also be able to guide students in the development of new technologies that can be licensed or used to spin off technology companies.
“The Thomas and Colleen Wilmot chair will be positioned at the interface of two signature Scholarship in Action initiatives at Syracuse University — the Syracuse Center of Excellence in Environmental and Energy Systems (Syracuse CoE) and the Enitiative,” says SU Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor. “This gift will enable the University to recruit a faculty member — who is as comfortable in the marketplace as in the classroom — who can provide students with experiences inside and outside the classroom and enable them to be innovators who are versed in real-world applications and opportunities.”Enitiative, the Syracuse Campus-Community Entrepreneurship Initiative, is made possible by a grant awarded to SU from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. This five-year, $3-million grant enables the coalition of committed academic and community partners to incorporate entrepreneurship into every facet of advancing the Scholarship in Action vision throughout Central New York. The Wilmot chair will work to instill the spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship into SU students.
“The Wilmots have provided a tremendous leadership gift,” says Howie Phanstiel, a fellow trustee and one of the volunteer co-chairs of The Campaign for Syracuse University, due to be launched publicly on Friday, Nov. 2. “Faculty excellence and student access and support are two of the cornerstone priorities in the campaign. The Wilmots’ gift will not only help us recruit the best faculty and the best students to Syracuse, but it serves as a great example for other alumni to follow.”
The remaining $3 million of the gift includes a $2 million bequest to be used by the dean to advance a vitally important program at the time it is made, and $1 million to the already established Thomas C. and Colleen L. Wilmot Scholarship, which will double the principal value of this endowed scholarship. The scholarship provides undergraduate scholarship awards based on need and merit to students majoring in civil engineering.
“Given the increased and appropriate global emphasis on stewarding the use of energy and the environment, the intellectual effort this major gift enables is timely and relevant,” says LCS Interim Dean Shiu-Kai Chin. “Engineering exists to support society, and the society we want and can sustain depends greatly on the wise use of resources in built environments, as well as the business models to sustain a ready supply of products and technologies.”
“The creation of the Thomas and Colleen Wilmot Endowed Chair at Syracuse University is great news for all of Central New York,” says Ed Bogucz, executive director of the Syracuse CoE. “Innovation in `green’ technologies is one of the emerging signatures of the region’s next-generation economy. Our most promising opportunities for innovations include energy-efficient building technologies and new clean and renewable energy sources. We expect that theindividual who is recruited to fill the Wilmot Chair will lead a team that strengthens and expands the engagement of students and faculty from the L.C. Smith College with other members of the Syracuse CoE.”
Thomas Wilmot is chairman of the Rochester-based Wilmorite Inc., a real estate development business. He received a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from LCS. Upon graduation, he began his career with Wilmorite, the company his father founded, as an assistant project manager and project manager in the construction division. He was named president in 1980 and has served as board chair since 1998.
Under his direction, Wilmorite has acted as the construction manager for numerous third-party projects, including the Riverside Convention Center, the Hyatt Regency and the Greater Rochester International Airport, all in Rochester. During Wilmot’s career, Wilmorite has developed more than 30 million square feet of retail, office, hotel, airport and convention facilities in nine states. Wilmorite is also the selected developer of the new convention center hotel, a 350-room, full-service Westin hotel attached to the OnCenter complex in downtown Syracuse.
Wilmot is a member of numerous civic organizations in the Rochester area, including the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, the James P. Wilmot Foundation and the St. Bernard Institute. He also dedicates time and support to the James P. Wilmot Cancer Center at the University of Rochester. Wilmot was elected to SU’s Board of Trustees in May.
Colleen Wilmot is a graduate of Nazareth College and a former member of its board of trustees. She is also very involved in the Wilmot Cancer Center at the University of Rochester and other civic organizations. The Wilmots are the parents of four children: Paul J. Wilmot, a 2002 graduate of SU’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management, James A. Wilmot, Loretta C. Wilmot and Thomas C. Wilmot Jr.