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$2 million gift puts fundraising goal in sight

Canisius College is closing in on its fundraising goal, thanks to a $2 million gift from a local philanthropist, college officials announced Tuesday.

Patrick P. Lee -- an inventor, engineer and former member of the college's board of trustees -- has committed $2 million to Canisius' "Legacy of Leadership" campaign, which now stands at $88.2 million.

The college's fundraising goal is $90 million. Canisius plans to close out its campaign May 31, school officials said.

"Canisius is a great asset in the Buffalo Niagara community," Lee said in a prepared statement. "The college has educated leaders in every walk of life who contribute in innumerable ways to the betterment of this region. It is essential that the Canisius Legacy of Leadership campaign succeeds. I hope that my gift will encourage others to come forward and put the campaign 'over the top.' "

Lee built his business, International Motion Controls Inc., from a small machine shop in Kenmore to an international company, before he sold it in 2007.

The majority of assests from the sale went to the Patrick J. Lee Foundation, a charitable organization in Amherst that provides funding for organizations making a positive impact in medical care and research; education; and health, human and community services.

Lee served on the Canisius board of trustees from 2000 to 2006 and was a member of the state Board of Regents from 1980 to 1986.

In 1998, Canisius named its student athletic center for Lee in recognition of his $500,000 gift for the project.

Lee, the father of former Rep. Christopher J. Lee, currently serves on the college's Investment Advisory Subcommittee, which manages the college's endowment.

"We are forever grateful to Patrick Lee for this extraordinary gift that moves us very close to our goal in this historic campaign for Canisius," Canisius President John J. Hurley said in a statement. "Patrick's Jesuit education has been a cornerstone in his life, and his support of Canisius -- the Jesuit college in Buffalo -- over the past several decades has been exemplary. I am personally grateful to Patrick for the vote of confidence that this gift represents."