WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) — A 1974 graduate of the College of the Holy Cross who remembers his time as a student and varsity soccer player at the school as "transformational" has given the school its largest single donation in history, a $32.5 million gift that will be used to enhance the student recreational and athletic experience, the Jesuit college announced Tuesday.

The gift from John Luth and his wife, Dr. Joanne Chouinard-Luth, came in response to the challenge of an anonymous donor who promised to bump a $15 million gift by an additional $5 million if the school raised $60 million by September to expand and renovate its athletics center and convert its field house into a state-of-the-art recreation center. With the Luth's gift, the total amount raised and pledged for the two projects reached $59.5 million.

"My years at Holy Cross were truly transformational for me, and I am grateful to be in a position to pay forward to the Holy Cross community for the many kindnesses given to me, particularly by the Jesuit order," said Luth, CEO and chairman of Seabury Group, a global advisory and investment company specializing in aviation and aerospace.

Luth, a native of Missouri from a family of 10 children, was an economics major and walked onto the Holy Cross varsity soccer team. He served on the Holy Cross Board of Trustees from 2005 until 2013 and joined the advisory board in 2013.

Plans for the athletics center for varsity players include a year-round indoor practice field; an auxiliary gymnasium for basketball and volleyball; and expanded sports medicine and strength and conditioning areas.

The revamp of the field house includes basketball courts, exercise studios, weight training rooms and new locker rooms for the entire student body.

"John and Joanne's example of leadership and support to help expand, renovate and update our athletics facilities enhances an essential element of the Jesuit educational mission to educate the whole person," said Holy Cross President Rev. Philip Boroughs.


This story has been corrected to show that Luth called his time at the Jesuit school "transformational," not "transformative."