About the Polisseni Center
Bill Destler, president of Rochester Institute of Technology, took to the ice of Frank Ritter Arena in November 2011 to announce a most significant gift to Tiger Power Play-the Campaign for RIT Hockey. In attendance was Gary Polisseni, board member of the Polisseni Foundation which, along with Tom Golisano, gave a $4.5 million partnership gift to create The Gene Polisseni Center.
The legacy of Gene Polisseni, a prominent businessman, philanthropist and avid sports fan, is now intertwined with the future of hockey at Rochester Institute of Technology. Gene Polisseni, who founded the Polisseni Foundation with his wife Wanda, served as vice president of marketing at Paychex, the company founded by Golisano, until his death in 2001. Since that time, the Polisseni Foundation has focused its support toward improving quality-of-life issues related to education, human services and civic improvement across the Rochester region.
Construction of the Gene Polisseni Center is expected to cost $30 million to $35 million, and the ground breaking was held on October 19, 2012, during Brick City Homecoming. The arena will be located on the south side of the Student Alumni Union, in the heart of the campus. While it will serve primarily as a venue for ice hockey, the arena will be a multi-purpose facility.
About Gene Polisseni
Tom Golisano (left) and Gene Polisseni
Gene Polisseni was a great hockey fan, and was integral to starting youth hockey leagues in the Rochester area. "My father believed that sports were key to building a strong sense of community," said Gary Polisseni. "The success of RIT's hockey program has become a unifying force for the Rochester community, and the Polisseni Foundation is proud to enhance that connection through its commitment to help build the Gene Polisseni Center."
Tom Golisano remembers his friend and business partner’s love of the game. "I remember afternoons when Gene would suit up in his Sabres gear in preparation for game night in Buffalo," recalled Golisano. "He understood firsthand how sports could make a community feel about itself, and I am proud to help create a legacy dedicated to Gene’s passion for competition and camaraderie here at RIT."
UMag article about Gene