by Tim Gross, '11
Mark and Lorraine Perry met the first day of their freshman year at St. Bonaventure as members of the class of ’83, have been together ever since, and now run a law firm out of Scranton, Pa.
“(St. Bonaventure) forms friendships that will be lifetime friendships,” Lorraine said.
A Watkins Glen, N.Y., native, Lorraine decided to attend St. Bonaventure, the only school she looked at, and majored in communications with a minor in political science. She met her husband through a mutual friend.
While his wife only looked at St. Bonaventure, Mark only knew the university. His family’s ties to the school found their roots in his uncle, Fr. Gervase White, O.F.M., a former professor and dean of students.
Mark said Bonaventure’s family-driven aspect factored in his family’s involvement.
“It’s such a family-oriented school,” he said. “Once one brother or sister went there, then all the brothers and sisters wanted to go there.”
Reminiscing about his days as an undergrad, Mark, now a lawyer at his own law firm, remembered the basketball games he attended.
“Those days were special,” he said. “We had great rivalries. It was just a lot of fun.”
Mark also described what he took from the classroom atmosphere.
“Academically, it really gave me a great foundation,” he said. “It enforced the values of working hard.”
Mark applied those values to his graduate studies, receiving his J.D. from the National Law Center of George Washington University with honors in 1986. From 1986 through 1991, he practiced law with Phillips, Lytle, LLP, in Buffalo, N.Y. He founded the Perry Law Firm in 1998.
He attributed his success to the moral values he learned at Bonaventure.
“St. Francis embodies the ideal of looking out for others,” he said. “Most people who come out of (St. Bonaventure) take that to heart.”
Lorraine, the Perry Law Firm’s office manager, has spent the past two years re-connecting people from the university as a member of the National Alumni Board.
“They needed someone (on the board) from my general year,” she said. “We’re back to campus more than others.”
Visiting the campus two to three times a year, Mark and Lorraine also contribute financially. They support the Fr. Gervase White scholarship, something Mark takes pride in from a family standpoint.
“It keeps my uncle’s memory alive,” he said. “Some young student now is benefitting from it, even though he obviously didn’t know my uncle personally.”
Lorraine also feels fortunate to have the opportunity to give back, as she and her husband also support The Bonaventure Fund and are members of the Seraphim Society.
“I wouldn’t have (made it through college) without scholarships,” she said. “Now it’s our turn to help someone who needs financial assistance.”
Lorraine said she and her husband spot Bonaventure alumni in their travels across the country. No matter where they go, Mark says someone from his alma mater is ready to greet him.
“We can still talk about Bonaventure with each other,” he said.