Providence College has announced an unusual gift of more than $1 million from a donor who is not from Rhode Island and is not a PC grad.
Dr. Kevin C. O’Kane, who lives on Cape Cod, is a retired professor of computer science at the University of Northern Iowa. He has given PC a $1.3 million pledge that will be used to finance scholarships for students studying computer science, physics or chemistry.
O’Kane made the college a 100 percent beneficiary of his retirement fund because of the college’s faithfulness to its Dominican and Roman Catholic mission.
``I wanted to give the money to a place that had made a commitment to the Catholic faith and was planning to keep it,’’ said O’Kane in a statement. ``That made a big difference to me.’’
After a career teaching at state universities in Alabama, Tennessee, Ohio and Iowa, O’Kane retired in 2013 and moved back to his family home in Hyannis, Mass. Then the question arose – how should he spend his retirement account. He has no children and his parents were deceased. And he owed no money on his house.
O’Kane had never been on the PC campus, but his father had been a student at the college in the 1920s before he transferred to Georgetown University. And his late uncle was a PC graduate in 1930.
In the fall of 2014, O’Kane finally visited the campus. ``The visit impressed me a great deal,’’ said O’Kane. ``I saw the crucifix everywhere. There wasn’t a place where I wasn’t aware that I was on a Catholic campus.’’
In a statement, College President Rev. Brian Shanley said, ``We are humbled by Dr. O’Kane’s selection of Providence College as the beneficiary of this generous gift.’’ Shanley said that O’Kane’s gift will ``have a meaningful, lasting impact on the college and its students.’’