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SUNY Poly announces largest individual donation in school history

By Eric Reinhardt (


The late Francis A. Wilcox has donated a total of $1.9 million to the SUNY Poly Foundation, which SUNY Polytechnic Institute says is the largest individual donor contribution in its history. SUNY Poly says it’ll use the funding for scholarships, lab renovations, and new equipment. (Photo credit: Michael Aiello SUNY Poly)
Francis A. Wilcox (Photo credit: SUNY Polytechnic Institute)

MARCY, N.Y. — SUNY Polytechnic Institute (SUNY Poly) on Monday announced that the late Francis A. Wilcox is donating a total of $1.9 million to the SUNY Poly Foundation — representing the largest individual donor contributions in the institution’s history.

Wilcox lived in East Utica his entire life and “desired to make an impactful mark on the lives of students,” per a SUNY Poly news release.

The $1 million donation will support undergraduate student scholarships, and the gift of $900,000 will support the renovation of four electrical and computer engineering/engineering-technology laboratories and the purchase of new equipment.

The Francis A. Wilcox Scholarship will provide critical financial support to SUNY Poly students who demonstrate merit and/or financial need, “especially, but not limited to,” those enrolled in the College of Engineering. The gift supporting the renovation of engineering laboratories with new, related resources will seek to provide the hundreds of students who take required and elective electrical engineering and engineering technology courses each year with a robust, advanced education that will translate their training into practical industry opportunities.

In addition, the second floor of Kunsela Hall will be named the “Francis A. Wilcox Engineering and Technology Wing.”

Wilcox’s nephew, Kevin Keehle, with wife Sue Keehle (pronounced kee-lee), “realized the opportunities before them to make a powerful difference in the lives of SUNY Poly’s students” when they visited the Marcy campus and learned more about the institution’s “top-tier” engineering programs, SUNU Poly said.

“My uncle saved and invested nearly every penny he earned as an electrical engineer, amassing a small fortune,” Kevin Keehle said in the release. “He had hoped to help universities and colleges in many ways. After visiting the SUNY Poly Utica campus, my wife Sue and I saw an awesome opportunity to help others by giving these gifts. It makes perfect sense and links his past with not only SUNY Poly’s future, but the city of Utica’s future as well. My family is honored he can be a part of both.”

Kevin Keehle earned his bachelor’s degree in business and public management from the institution in 1992, SUNY Poly noted.

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