St. Bonaventure University President Dennis DePerro passed away Monday from COVID-19 complications. He was 62.
DePerro tested positive on Christmas Eve and was hospitalized in Syracuse on Dec. 29, according to a statement from SBU. He had been on a ventilator since mid-January.
Joseph Zimmer, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at St. Bonaventure, served as acting president in February while DePerro was hospitalized.
“Words simply can’t convey the level of devastation our campus community feels right now,” Zimmer said. “I know when people die it’s become cliché to say things like, ‘He was a great leader, but an even better human being,’ and yet, that’s the absolute truth with Dennis. We are heartbroken.”
DePerro, who became president in June 2017, oversaw the three largest freshman classes in the last 11 years, “implemented new enrollment and marketing strategies and championed new academic program development,” among other achievements, according to the statement.
The Buffalo native graduated from Bishop Timon High School, a private, all-male Catholic school in South Buffalo. He later attended Canisius College. DePerro spent the first eight years of his post-graduation career doing admissions and alumni relations work for the college.
DePerro is the third active university president in the U.S. to die of COVID-19 complications. Irving Pressley McPhail, president of Saint Augustine’s University, passed away in October, just three months after his appointment to lead the Raleigh-based HBCU. Mark Ivester, president of North Georgia Technical College, died from COVID-19 complications in September after a weeks-long hospitalization.
Former Stanford University President Donald Kennedy died of COVID-19 complications in April.
“The university flag will fly at half-staff in his honor through the end of March,” the university in its statement.
Grant Ashley is an assistant features editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Grant Ashley is the managing editor at The Spectrum. He is a political science and (mediocre) Spanish double major. He enjoys taking long bike rides, baking with his parents’ ingredients and recreating Bob Ross paintings in crayon. He can be found on Twitter @Grantrashley.