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Thomas H. O'Neill Jr., a petroleum industry executive and 1963 graduate of Canisius College, has given his alma mater $300,000, Canisius president, the Rev. Vincent M. Cooke, announced Thursday.

The funds will go toward the 50 technology classrooms currently being installed in the college's signature Old Main building. A suite of the classrooms will be dedicated in O'Neill's name.

"My Canisius education provided me with more than just a degree in biochemistry," said O'Neill, a general partner of Somerset Capital Partners and principal stockholder in Grey Wolf, an international onshore drilling company.

"Each and every day I also draw upon the values instilled in me as a Canisius student and believe that they have guided my success in business," said O'Neill, who has more than 30 years' domestic and international experience in petroleum exploration and financing.

Old Main, the 90-year-old Canisius building with the golden dome, is undergoing a $12 million renovation set for completion late this summer. In addition to 50 high-tech classrooms, it is getting a complete overhaul of its operating systems.

O'Neill, who also serves as vice chairman of the state Dormitory Authority, is a director of Firebird Holdings, a logistics and contract warehousing business, and is a director and chairman of the board of Union Drilling.

His gift to Canisius, Cooke said in a statement, "will not only enhance the quality of life for Canisius students for years to come but will also help us further our mission of preparing students to become leaders in their chosen professions and their communities."

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