February 18, 2020
Holy Cross Gets $25M Gift, Its Largest Ever

February 19, 2013 — The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester announced that it received a $25 million gift, the largest single donation in its history, that will fund a new performance facility.

The gift comes as the College of the Holy Cross launches the leadership phase of a comprehensive fundraising campaign to support a number of strategic initiatives, and is the latest in a series of significant donations from Cornelius B. Prior, Jr., a 1956 graduate of the college board chair of Atlantic Tele-Network, Inc.

In 1998, Prior made a $5 million gift that established three professorships in the humanities, which at the time was the college’s largest single commitment and helped launch the college’s record-setting “Lift High the Cross” campaign.

In 2006, at the end of the campaign and in celebration of the Class of 1956 50th reunion, he made a second $5 million gift that further expanded these professorship endowments. In addition, he has provided lead gifts in support of exhibitions at the Cantor Art Gallery, major sponsorship of a commissioned painting, and lead sponsorship of the “Hope and Healing” exhibition at the Worcester Art Museum that was co-sponsored by the College in 2005.

A long-time Holy Cross volunteer, Prior was a member of the board of trustees from 1997-2005 and now serves on the college’s Advisory Board

College’s president, Rev. Philip L. Boroughs said, “Neil’s gift is a reflection of his unwavering belief in the importance of a Holy Cross education, and how the study and experience of the arts are essential to that education. His generosity will have a transformative effect on our work and is a tremendous statement of support in our mission and leadership.”

Prior noted, “Holy Cross and its professors offer students an extraordinary education – I believe there is none finer in the United States. My hope is that this gift creates a visible and integrated way for my grandson Benjamin Ritter, a freshman at Holy Cross today, and for all Holy Cross students, to experience the arts during their four years here.”

Prior started his career as an attorney with Sullivan & Cromwell in New York after graduation from Harvard Law School. A former U.S. Navy officer and Fulbright Scholar, he resides in St. Thomas, where he is chairman of the Forum, a nonprofit arts organization, and honorary trustee of the Antilles School.

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