Emil Calice never graduated from college, but his legacy ensures that others will.
The Binghamton resident has left SUNY Broome Community College $10 million — the biggest gift in the college’s history, and possibly the largest philanthropic gift ever presented to a SUNY community college.
The money will be used to establish the Paul and Mary Calice and Mildred Barton Memorial Scholarship Fund, which will provide need-based financial aid to SUNY Broome students.
“No student will have to turn down a SUNY Broome education because it’s just too expensive. No student will face tens of thousands of dollars in debt just because they want to improve their lives,” said Maureen Wilson, president of the Broome Community College Foundation Board of Directors.
The Broome Community College Foundation – among the top 10 percent of community college foundations in the country — has an important role in accepting and administering the gift.
“Sonny” – as he was known by family and friends – came from a large Italian family with eight brothers and sisters. His parents, Paul and Mary, emigrated from Italy and first lived in Michigan before joining relatives in Binghamton.
Emil Calice served with his four brothers during World War II. After the war ended, he spent his entire career at IBM and was also an avid Hamm Radio operator.
His lifelong companion, Millie Barton, also worked at IBM during the World War II era to further the war effort. Barton was a passionate naturalist and gardener, as well as a philanthropist who donated to many charities. The Binghamton Zoo at Ross Park was particularly close to her heart because of her concern for animals.
“You can go anywhere from here – but you need to get here first. And that’s where Mr. Calice’s generosity makes such a big difference,” said SUNY Broome President Kevin E. Drumm, who offered his heartfelt thanks to the Calice and Barton families.
Several of Mr. Calice’s and Mildred Barton’s relatives graduated from SUNY Broome, Dr. Drumm noted.
Two other community colleges within the SUNY System – SUNY Orange and the Fashion Institute of Technology – have also received $10 million gifts, according to the chancellor’s office.
However, Mr. Calice’s gift may end up being slightly more than $10 million, making it the largest gift ever presented to a community college, Dr. Drumm said.
“We can help so many students with every dollar donated,” he said.
The interest alone from Mr. Calice’s donation can fund 100 full-tuition or 200 half-tuition scholarships, he said.
“I imagine that Mr. Calice’s parents, Paul and Mary, and his partner, Millie Barton, would be honored to have such an award named for them in the spirit of their legacies of hard work and lives well lived,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher in a statement. “It is my expectation that any and all recipients of this award fulfill that legacy in their own lives and actions, and that they continue to make Broome and SUNY as proud as we are today.”