Dr. Dennis DePerro, the 21st president of St. Bonaventure University in Olean, N.Y., passed away from COVID-19 complications early this morning, according to a public announcement issued by the school. Dr. DePerro had led the university since assuming the presidency on June 1, 2017.

The Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., Niagara University president, released the following statement:

Our entire university community is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Dr. Dennis DePerro.

While on the surface our schools appear to be competitors, in reality we have collaborated with Dr. DePerro and St. Bonaventure to advance the mission of Catholic higher education in our region and across New York state. Through his incredible vision and engaging leadership, he positioned the university for success for years to come. I have a deep admiration for Dennis as a faith-filled leader, an exemplary educator, a wonderful colleague, and a dear friend. His death is a great loss for all of us.

Our prayers are with the entire DePerro family, including Sherry DePerro, a graduate of Niagara University’s Class of 1984, as well as Dennis’ sons, Andrew and Matthew. May God fill them with His healing presence during this difficult time.

I also extend our thoughts to the entire St. Bonaventure community. Please know that you will remain in our prayers as we all remember our friend, Dr. Dennis DePerro. 

We will offer a special prayer for Dr. Dennis DePerro and his family at each one of our Masses in the Alumni Chapel at Niagara University for the remainder of this week, and Sunday, as well.

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