John Dillion, who was born in Schroon Lake 79 years ago, recently gave Paul Smith's College one awesome donation.
John, a 1958 graduate and longtime benefactor of Paul Smith’s College, donated the money to help the institution renovate its chemistry laboratories. The gift from Dillon -- a retired chairman and CEO of International Paper -- is the largest donation ever from a Paul Smith’s alum, the college said.
“This transformational gift provides state-of-the-art chemistry facilities, which are crucial to our students and faculty,” said professor Jorie Favreau, chair of Paul Smith’s Natural Sciences Department. “Our students’ understanding of chemistry is integral to protecting our natural resources, whether they use it to ameliorate the effects of mercury on loons or other chemical interactions in our air, water or soil. I am grateful for John Dillon’s commitment to educating the future professionals who will protect our environment for generations to come.”
“Paul Smith’s College is an integral part of the Adirondacks and has provided an important education to many young people,” Dillon said. “I am pleased to be a part of positioning the college in the future and continuing to provide development to North Country young people.”
The renovated labs will be named the John T. Dillon Science Center in his honor.
“John Dillon has been both a leader and steadfast supporter of the college for many years,” said Cathy Dove, president of Paul Smith’s College. “His career, service as a member of the college’s board of trustees and long history of giving are inspiring. We are so grateful to John for all he has done to support Paul Smith’s College and its great mission.”
Including his current gift, Dillon has donated more than $2 million to the college in his lifetime. He gave $600,000 to establish Dillon’s Mill, the college-owned sawmill, as well as other significant gifts to International Paper John Dillon Park, a handicapped-accessible wilderness park located between Tupper Lake and Long Lake. He also provided a challenge grant that helped raise more than $50,000 to establish the Gould Hoyt Scholarship, named for a longtime faculty member in the forestry department.
Dillon served as a member of the Paul Smith’s College Board of Trustees between 1982 and 1992. In 1993, he was named trustee emeritus. He was also the college’s commencement speaker in 1999.