More than 50 years after graduating from DeSales Catholic School, a man who found success in the die casting industry is giving back to his alma mater in very big way. David Ryan, who graduated from DeSales in 1960, has donated $500,000 to the small school in Lockport.
"I felt like getting up and dancing," said DeSales School Principal Sister Carol Ann Kleindinst, SSMN, recalling the day he surprised her with the generous gift. "He turned the check around and pushed it up to me and said, 'There you go'. I looked down and I thought the check said fifty-thousand dollars, which is a huge amount of money. I was very thrilled, but instead, I looked and there was another zero."
David Ryan worked his way up from the sales department at Rimrock Corporation and eventually became the president and owner of the company before selling it in 1999. He and his wife, Ellen, now split their time between residences in Michigan and Florida. He was not able to be present for what was deemed as one of the most exciting announcements in DeSales history.
In October, Ryan was inducted into the DeSales Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame and toured the school with his wife. At a press conference, on Friday, announcing the generous gift, Sister Carol Ann read a statement from the Ryans. "DeSales renewed our faith in our youth and helped us to realize that we can have a great educational system if enough of us give it the support that our children deserve."
Bishop Richard J. Malone, bishop of Buffalo, stressed to the students how their Catholic education will continue to help them throughout their lives. "Your school is different where it counts because of who it calls you to be as men and women who can help the world to become a better place. This tremendous gift from Mr. Ryan is a real strong foundation for us as we go forward and I think it's an invitation to others who may have resources at some level to be able to maybe consider coming forth to help DeSales or another Catholic School. Thank you, thank you, thank you to Mr. Ryan."
The Ryans have made community service and philanthropy their primary focus. They have helped build two new churches in Florida, and a cancer research center in Columbus, Ohio. "He saw that when there was a need, he had the ability to help," said Sister Carol Ann. She added that the biggest piece of the donation to DeSales will go toward tuition assistance to help attract students whose families could not otherwise afford the tuition. "This is a huge gift because it's going to be able to sustain our school into the future."
DeSales is Eastern Niagara County's only Catholic School, serving over 300 students in early childhood education through eighth grade. For more information visit www.desalescatholicschool.org .