Friar Blesses SBU House Renamed for Generous Donor

HNP Communications Friar News

ALLEGANY, N.Y. — Robert Struzynski, OFM, recently blessed a house on the St. Bonaventure University campus here that was renamed for a donor who remembered the college in his will. 

SBU renamed a townhouse on the east side of campus the Gelsomino House in honor of the late Frank Gelsomino, shown at right, who left a legacy of more than $1.6 million. The gift will allow the university to establish the Gelsomino Family Scholarship Fund. 

Gelsomino’s bequest, which also included $700,000 to a local hospital, was impressive, especially given the fact that he never made more than $5.85 an hour from Dresser Industries. The 90-plus-year-old lived in a modest house in nearby Olean, and retired in 1975 after 38 years at the factory. He died on Aug. 13, 2007. 

His legacy was made possible by scrimping and saving, investing wisely, and daily calls to his stockbroker, according to SBU officials. Some of his wealth was inherited from his family. 

bob_back3-18-09“Words could never adequately convey what this remarkable man has done for us,” said Sr. Margaret Carney, OSF, university president. “I had the pleasure of sitting down and talking with him at length before he passed away, and I was so impressed with his desire to help others get the education he was unfortunately denied.”

The Great Depression struck just as Gelsomino was about to graduate from Olean High School, eliminating college as an option. “It was his desire that his donation could help local students attend St. Bonaventure who might not otherwise be able to,” said Bob Keenan, planned giving officer for the university’s fundraising division, who helped Gelsomino set up the scholarship fund.

The photo of Robert, shown “behind” the photo above, was taken on Feb. 27. Robert lives at Holy Peace Friary atMt. Irenaeus Franciscan Mountain Retreat, near SBU.