background image
down to The Grotto and stand there for
more than five seconds without feeling
it," he said. "You may not be able to
articulate it, but you have that feeling."
St. Bonaventure is where he met his
wife, Joan Anderson Cullen, the daugh-
ter of the late Dr. Kenneth Anderson, a
longtime St. Bonaventure biology profes-
sor who also served as dean of Arts and
Sciences and Graduate Studies. Joan is
one of 11 children, 10 of whom have St.
Bonaventure degrees.
Today, Joan works alongside her hus-
band as the bank's corporate secretary.
Their daughter, Colleen C. Young, is the
bank's chief financial officer. Colleen and
her three brothers, the aforementioned
Thomas, Joseph and Timothy (all three
sons live and work in Chicago), are also
Bonaventure graduates.
Colleen said there's no doubt that her
father's college experience shaped who
he is today.
"Oh, absolutely," she said. "I can see it
in both my parents and in my brothers
the work ethic, the desire to do the right
thing and to help others."
But she's careful to note that the Bank
of Cattaraugus is not an anomaly, not in
Western New York anyway.
"There are a lot of local community
banks that do the same things we do.
We might be in the minority because
we don't have any other branches, but
there are other independent banks that
really focus on the community instead
of the big corporate clients," she said.
"It's rewarding, but we don't do it to
be rewarded. We do it because it's what
you're supposed to do help people."
It's certainly a philosophy espoused at
St. Bonaventure, said Dr. James Mahar,
associate professor of finance and
founder and coordinator of
BonaResponds, the university's student-
driven volunteer disaster-relief organiza-
tion.
"A friend of mine once said that at
some point in time everyone becomes a
philanthropist, and I think that's really
what we teach here," said Mahar. "If
you look at our track record across the
board, whether it's giving back to the
university, starting charities, or working
with the poor and using your business
know-how to help them, I think we do a
really good job at it."
Mahar's School of Business colleague
Dr. Todd Palmer, associate professor of
management, said what the Cullens do
at the Bank of Cattaraugus reinforces
the school's message.
"One of the inherent problems in a
Franciscan School of Business is showing
our students that instilling these values
into a business is not a pipe dream, that
it can be done. Pat Cullen and his family
have shown you can make that hap-
pen," said Palmer.
Cullen, who is 65, doesn't even think
about retiring. "I know people who are
retired, I just don't understand what
they don't do," he said with a smile.
"There are so many people to help out
there."
And so much still to do for the com-
munity that has supported and shaped
his family for three generations.
C
ullen's passion is history. If you
didn't know better, you'd swear
his cluttered office in the back
of the bank were a museum archivist's
workshop. He delights in pulling arti-
facts out of hiding and regaling visitors
with tales of what Cattaraugus once
was. Abraham Lincoln visited
Cattaraugus. So did Daniel Webster,
Commodore Matthew Perry, and Mark
Twain, who even named a cat in one of
his stories "Cattaraugus."
One of Cullen's prized possessions is a
photo from 1898 showing Cattaraugans
crowded around a railroad car stopped
at the Main Street crossing. On the car's
rear platform, waving to the locals, is
Teddy Roosevelt. It was his last speech
before being elected governor of New
York.
Cullen founded and runs the Historic
Cattaraugus Corporation, a nonprofit
business determined not only to pre-
serve the past, but to use it to create a
prosperous future. The corporation has
purchased and renovated several old
buildings in town and recently acquired
the very plot of land where Teddy
Roosevelt's campaign train stopped
more than 100 years ago.
Cullen envisions a Williamsburg-like
attraction on the site, and if things go
according to plans, the first building
could go up next year. An admitted
packrat, Cullen said he has "buildings
full of neat things."
"He spends a lot of his time and
money on the nonprofit he started to
revitalize the town," said son Thomas.
"It's as important in his life as anything
else."
That's no surprise to Professor Palmer.
"They're a real `Main Street Bank'
whose No. 1 concern is the people who
live on their own Main Street," he said.
So excuse Cullen if he doesn't linger
long in the spotlight of national media
exposure, and why, as a Bona grad, part
of him can't help wondering what all
the fuss is about.
"The Franciscans made us feel as
though one person can make a differ-
ence, but also that nobody is more
important than the next person," he
said.
(Donahue, '76, is director of print and
electronic publications at St.
Bonaventure.)
W
I
N
T
E
R

2
0
1
2
-
2
0
1
3
B O N A V E N T U R E
17
Patrick Cullen
"The Franciscans made
us feel as though one
person can make a
difference, but also that
nobody is more
important than the
next person."