Nazareth College announced that it is receiving the largest gift in the College’s history. Tom Golisano is giving the College $7.5 million for the construction of a $15.5 million athletic training facility that will bring together the strengths of Nazareth College, Special Olympics, and the Golisano Foundation to create a new model of inclusion, fitness, and wellness.
The Golisano Training Center will serve three purposes. First, it will provide an indoor track, field, courts, and training facilities to promote the fitness and wellness of Nazareth students. Second, it will enable the College to partner with Special Olympics, which will use the Center for training and events. Third, it will create opportunities for the College to work with Special Olympics and the Golisano Foundation in promoting the Healthy Communities agenda. As stated by Special Olympics, the goal of the Healthy Communities program is to improve the health status of people with intellectual disabilities and, in so doing, “create a future world where people with intellectual disabilities have the same opportunities to be as healthy as people without intellectual disabilities.”
The Golisano Training Center is in its early phases of design with an initial concept for a 91,000-square-foot building. With this gift, Nazareth can move forward in working with an architect to refine the design. The College’s goal is to put shovels in the ground by early summer 2017 and open the facility by the beginning of the 2018-19 academic year.
“I am pleased to provide financial support for this extraordinary project and applaud Nazareth’s commitment to create a shared athletic space that benefits athletes of all abilities,“ said Tom Golisano. “This new Training Center will have an immediate, positive impact on people with disabilities, advancing the Foundation’s goal of fostering understanding, acceptance and inclusion. It is also a unique opportunity to bring together the strengths and resources of Nazareth College, the Golisano Foundation and Special Olympics, serving as a model for Healthy Community partnerships in other regions of the U.S. and the world.”
“People with Intellectual Disabilities (ID) are still one of the most underserved populations in the world as far as adequate and appropriate health care screening and treatment,” said Neal Johnson, president and CEO of Special Olympics New York (SONY). “Because of this need, through our "Healthy Athlete" and "Healthy Communities" programs, Special Olympics has become the number one provider of health screenings in the world for people with ID. Nazareth has been a most valued partner with SONY in serving this need in New York. SONY is excited about the potential this new facility holds for both Nazareth College and us to do more for people in our communities who have been overlooked and underserved for far too long.”
Nazareth is uniquely qualified to achieve this vision with its position as the only Rochester‐based college to offer an array of professional health care programs that includes Nursing, Physical Therapy, Speech Therapy, Social Work, Creative Arts Therapy (Art and Music), Occupational Therapy, as well as pre‐medical and pre‐dental. The Interdisciplinary Specialty Program in Autism (I‐SPAN) is a unique program offered by the School of Health and Human Services and the School of Education that prepares professionals to work with individuals on the autism spectrum across the lifespan.
Additionally, Nazareth is one of the only schools in the United States, outside of those affiliated with academic medical centers, offering a full array of on‐campus clinics where students have the opportunity to work with real patients. These clinics help students translate classroom learning into clinical practice under the watchful supervision of faculty members. They also promote the interdisciplinary training of future health care professionals.
Nazareth will focus its initiatives on three of the seven disciplines in the Healthy Athletes arena: FUNfitness (Physical Therapy), Healthy Hearing (Audiology/Speech & Language Pathology), and Health Promotion (better health and well‐being). Support for the Olympians would include such services as providing vital health screening on a regular schedule in a convenient location, developing wellness programs, and providing coaches and mentors. Nazareth students in nursing, social work, and special education also volunteer to help many other agencies in the community.
“I am a strong proponent of the view that colleges should find creative ways to partner with the larger community,” said Nazareth President Daan Braveman. “Tom’s extraordinarily generous gift enables us to develop precisely such a partnership, which will become a national model for ways in which colleges can work with Special Olympics throughout the country in promoting the Healthy Communities agenda. The partnership will benefit the Special Olympians as well as our students, developing in them the understanding, skills and attitudes needed to become competent and caring health and education professionals who are comfortable working with people of all abilities.”
This gift brings Tom Golisano’s support for Nazareth College to more than $12.5 million. In 2003 he donated $5 million to Nazareth to create the B. Thomas Golisano Academic Center. And in 2014, the Golisano Foundation donated $100,000 to support the construction of the college’s new Wellness and Rehabilitation Institute.
Nazareth College's academic strengths cross an unusually broad spectrum of 60 majors, including education, health and human services, management, the fine arts, music, theater, math and science, foreign languages, and the liberal arts. The coeducational, religiously independent, classic campus in a charming suburb of Rochester, N.Y. challenges and supports 2,000 undergrads and 800 graduate students. Nazareth is recognized nationally for its Fulbright global student scholars and commitment to civic engagement. Rigorous programs, an uncommon core, experiential learning, career skills, and a global focus prepare graduates for not just one job, but for their life's work.