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The University Magazine

About B. Thomas Golisano

Bill Destler
B. Thomas Golisano


Rochester entrepreneur and philanthropist B. Thomas Golisano is the founder of Paychex Inc. and chairman of the company’s board of directors.

Golisano started Paychex in 1971 at age 30. In 1983, Paychex became a public company and was named to the Inc. magazine list of “The Fastest Growing, Privately Held Companies in the U.S.” In fiscal 2006, Paychex generated nearly $1.7 billion in revenues. The Rochester-based company, which provides payroll and human resources services to small- and medium-sized companies, has nearly 11,500 employees serving approximately 543,000 clients.

Golisano has often been recognized for his entrepreneurial, civic, and philanthropic achievements and endeavors. In 2006, he was presented with the 70th Annual Rochester Rotary Award. In 2005, he was awarded Catholic Family Center’s 2005 CFC Award for his many contributions to human service organizations throughout greater Rochester. He was named Outstanding Philanthropist for 2004 by the Association of Fundraising Professionals.

His philanthropic activities include contributions to numerous civic, health care and educational organizations.

In 2001, his $14 million gift to RIT launched the B. Thomas Golisano College of Computing and Information Sciences.

A strong advocate for the reduction of substance abuse and teen pregnancy, Golisano serves on the executive committee of Prevention Partners, a Rochester coalition designed to combat illegal drugs and alcohol abuse. He is founder of the B. Thomas Golisano Foundation, which awards grants to organizations dedicated to providing opportunities for those with disabilities and offering support to their families.

Golisano’s concern for political reform led him to become a founding member of the Independence Party of New York state. As a candidate of that party, he ran for governor of New York in 1994, 1998 and 2002.

In 2003, Golisano purchased the Buffalo Sabres of the National Hockey League, noting that the team was an economic and community asset that should remain in Buffalo.

A a native of the Rochester suburb of Irondequoit, he is a graduate of the State University of New York at Alfred.