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The Connect the Community campaign began in August 2019 with a $7.5 million gift from Paychex founder and philanthropist Tom Golisano to build the innovative new Community Engagement Center. The gift is the largest in Roberts Wesleyan’s 157-year history. The 26,167-square-foot two-story center will be a hub for connection, collaboration, and student life resources. It will be the first building on campus to provide centralized meeting spaces and community interaction opportunities for all students. Construction on the building is expected to take 14 months, with a grand opening on January 23, 2023.

Campaign Priorities



We are blessed to have the support of our Roberts family and Greater Rochester on this endeavor.

Dr. Deana L. Porterfield, President of
Roberts Wesleyan University

“We are so grateful to Mr. Golisano for the overwhelming demonstration of support of the work we do. This gift allows us to build a unique campus building and is an encouraging endorsement of our mission to serve the educational needs of the Greater Rochester community and our students.

It’s an exciting time for us at Roberts Wesleyan and we welcome others to be partners with us in the transformational work of education for character."


Thomas Golisano


I am so impressed with the caliber of the young people that are here, their respect for one another, their respect for elders, their desire to be educated.

Thomas Golisano, Founder of Paychex

"I am pleased to provide a gift of $7.5 million to establish the new Community Engagement Center at Roberts Wesleyan University. The four institutes that will be housed within the center will provide much-needed training and education to businesses, corporate and community partners, and students.

Our region boasts several wonderful institutions of higher education, but few are located on the west side. The Community Engagement Center will create an opportunity for Roberts to expand its reach by sharing its professional and educational expertise with the broader community."

Golisano Community Engagement Center

The Golisano Community Engagement Center is a key component of the college’s five-year strategic plan, established in 2016.


News & Events

Roberts Wesleyan University will Celebrate the Grand Opening of the Golisano Community Engagement Center on Monday Jan. 23, 2023.

December 14, 2022

Roberts will celebrate the grand opening of the highly anticipated state-of-the-art $13.9 million Golisano Community Engagement Center. The community will gather at 11:00 a.m. for refreshments and mingling. At 11:30 a.m., President Deana L. Porterfield will be joined by community partners, dignitaries, and friends of Roberts for a formal press conference and ribbon-cutting ceremony to commemorate this significant moment in the institution’s 157-year history.

RBJ Feature Story: Roberts Wesleyan Builds $15 Million Golisano Community Engagement Center

April 7, 2022

The Golisano Community Engagement Center, currently under construction at Roberts Wesleyan College, aims to create a bridge between higher education and the local business community by developing and serving the Greater Rochester area workforce.

Campus Construction Update: Roberts Celebrates GCEC Construction with Beam Signing

March 30, 2022

More than 150 members of the Roberts community attended the beam signing event held from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. on March 29. Chocolate covered pretzels and popcorn were handed out and markers were provided to sign the steel girders already installed in the GCEC.


We are who we are
because of you

No matter the amount contributed, our community is coming together for the construction of a unique campus building to serve the educational needs of the Greater Rochester community and our students.


Thank You