St. Bonaventure University

Remembering Dr. DePerro

Higher education, religious and political leaders share tributes of St. Bonaventure's 21st president

SBU Reflections of Dr. DePerro


The Le Moyne College community joins with others in mourning this tremendous loss. Dennis worked so hard for St. Bonaventure and had accomplished so much in such a short period of time. He was beloved and touched so many lives at Le Moyne and kept in touch with many members of our campus community. He was a wonderful colleague, friend and confidant, and I will miss his one-of-a-kind sense of humor. Our prayers and sincere condolences go out to his wife Sherry, and sons Matthew and Andrew. He will be deeply missed.

- Le Moyne College President Dr. Linda LeMura


The relationship between Siena College and St. Bonaventure University is a strong one, steeped in our shared Franciscan mission and traditions. As the Bonaventure community mourns the loss of their beloved president, we stand with them in their time of sorrow. We respected Dr. DePerro for his inspirational vision to carefully examine issues critical to higher education, and his fervent commitment to delivering a transformational college experience for all Bonaventure students. We are grateful for his mentorship and guidance. He knew well, and passionately embraced, the Franciscan ethos. Our prayers and hearts are with the DePerro family and with the extended Bonaventure family today and in the coming days.

- Siena College President Dr. Christopher P. Gibson


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.

- Niagara University President Rev. James J. Maher, C.M.

JCC logo

It is so very sad to lose such a dear friend and colleague. On behalf of Jamestown Community College, we send our condolences to the DePerro family, and to our colleagues at St. Bonaventure University. I knew from the moment I met Dennis he was going to be a good friend and colleague. I looked forward to our conversations and working with him on new initiatives. He will be missed.

- Jamestown Community College President Dr. Daniel DeMarte

Bishop timon logo

The Bishop Timon-St. Jude High School community is extremely saddened by the passing of St. Bonaventure President Dennis R. DePerro, Ph.D. Dennis was a 1977 graduate of Bishop-Timon. Dennis exemplified the foundations of Franciscan teachings that were instilled upon him at Timon and continued throughout his career culminating in being named the 21st president of St. Bonaventure in 2017.

We are extremely proud of Dennis’ accomplishments and he and his family are in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Fortes in Fide – Strong in Faith – is the motto of Bishop Timon-St. Jude High School and we know Dennis would want us all to remember this as we remember him.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen

- Bishop Timon - St. Jude High School

dyouville college logoD’Youville extends its deepest sympathies to the entire St. Bonaventure community on the passing of its beloved president, Dr. Dennis DePerro. We offer sincere condolences, prayers and love to his family, friends and colleagues in the face of this heartbreaking loss. He will be remembered most as someone who created warm connections and opened our hearts to learn from him.

We join with our friends at St. Bonaventure in mourning the loss of their President, Dr. Dennis DePerro. Dr. DePerro was a man of great faith and vision who truly embodied the Franciscan ideals. We pray for comfort for his family, and for the university community, at this time of great sadness.

- Franciscan Sisters of Allegany and Associates

Chautauqua logoDennis DePerro was my friend, my colleague and a beloved President of my alma mater. What he accomplished in less than four years was nothing short of remarkable, and his legacy will live on in all that he built and instilled into our hallowed Franciscan institution. His was the embodiment of the good journey. My heart goes out to Sherry and his sons, and I join not only the Bonaventure family but our regional community in mourning this tremendous loss.

- Chautauqua Institution President Michael E. Hill, a 1996 alumnus of St. Bonaventure and secretary of the university’s Board of Trustees

I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of St. Bonaventure University President Dr. Dennis DePerro following a long battle with COVID-19. My deepest sympathies are with his wife, Sherry, their sons, Andrew and Matthew and the entire St. Bonaventure University family. Dr. DePerro was an amazing advocate for St. Bonaventure and our community. He was a Western New York guy through and through. I will miss his leadership, his counsel and his friendship. Just this summer Assemblyman Joe Giglio and I spent an afternoon with Dr. DePerro at the Burton talking about his plans for the university. This is heartbreaking and a terrible blow to our community.

- NY Senator George Borrello

AAUP logoOn behalf of our members, the officers of the St. Bonaventure University Chapter of the American Association of University Professors extend our condolences to the family of President DePerro and the University community. Dennis was an excellent president and leader who loved his job—and it showed. His collegiality and joy were infectious. His effective leadership brought us hope and optimism during troubled times for higher education and he will be sorely missed.

- Mary Rose Kubal, President; Barry Gan, Vice President; Anne-Claire Fisher, Secretary; Paul Brawdy, Treasurer; Pauline Hoffmann, Communication Director; Ann Tenglund, Membership Chair

State Assembly honors Dr. DePerro

New York State Assemblyman Joseph M. Giglio remembers Dr. DePerro as he introduces a resolution mourning his passing.

Diocese of Buffalo logo

On behalf of our clergy, diocesan leaders, parishes, and educators, I wish to express our deepest condolences to the St. Bonaventure University community and the family of Dr. Dennis DePerro, on the occasion of his untimely passing. Again, we experience how this dreaded virus has robbed us of so many dedicated, talented and cherished members of our community.  We hold Dr. DePerro and his family in our hearts with abiding gratitude for all that he made possible in his long and distinguished career. May his enduring contributions and memory be a blessing and source of comfort, even as we offer gratitude to God for allowing him to share generously with this community his deep faith, abundant talents and loyal friendship.

- Bishop Michael W. Fisher of the Diocese of Buffalo

St. John and St. Mary's graphicOn behalf of the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels and St. John the Evangelist parishes, we offer our deepest condolences to the loved ones of President DePerro. Our love and prayers are with his family, friends, and the entire St. Bonaventure University community. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in Your peace. Amen

Trocaire logoTrocaire College joins the St. Bonaventure community and beyond in mourning the tragic loss of Dr. Dennis DePerro. Dennis was a dedicated and accomplished higher education professional, and deeply committed to the values of Catholic higher education. Dennis was South Buffalo born and raised, with his education and outlook influenced by both the Franciscan Friars and Trocaire’s founding Sisters of Mercy. He was a true friend to the college, and to me personally.

We at Trocaire are keeping Dennis’ family in our prayers as they work through this difficult time, and praying for the St. Bonaventure community as they struggle to overcome the loss of a tremendous campus leader. 

Rest in peace, Dr. Dennis DePerro.

- Trocaire College President Bassam M. Deeb, Ph.D.

canisius logo

I speak for the entire Canisius College community in expressing our heartfelt condolences to the St. Bonaventure University community on the death of Dennis DePerro.  He was an extraordinary man of faith and grace who began his distinguished academic career as an admissions counselor here at his alma mater, Canisius, and went on to achieve so much at Marietta, LeMoyne and St. Bonaventure.  He could light up a room with his wit and humor. Despite his many professional successes, he remained at his core a humble, devoted servant of God for whom faith and family were paramount.

 Personally, I have regarded Dennis as a great personal friend for many years and so I, like so many connected with St. Bonaventure, am simply heartbroken at his passing.  We consulted regularly on the many challenges we faced in our work in higher education.  He was a valued colleague in the many professional circles in which we traveled.  I will miss him greatly.  I have his wife, Sherry, and sons, Andrew and Matthew in my prayers at this very sad time.     

-  Canisius College President John J. Hurley


I am extremely saddened by loss of St. Bonaventure University President, Dr. Dennis DePerro. Dr. DePerro was not only a great colleague and leader in higher education, but a great friend, who I have known for many years. Hilbert College joins the Franciscan Sisters of St. Joseph and our fellow Franciscan colleges and universities across the nation as we extend our deepest condolences to Dr. DePerro’s family, friends, and the entire St. Bonaventure community. You are all in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.  In solidarity with St. Bonaventure, we will fly our flag at half-staff and offer a Mass in his honor on Tuesday, March 9, at 11 a.m. in St. Clare Chapel on the Hilbert campus.

- Hilbert College President Dr. Michael Brophy

The friars join the St. Bonaventure University community in mourning the death of president Dr. Dennis DePerro, who passed away early this morning from complications caused by COVID-19. Our prayers are with Dr. DePerro’s family, especially his wife, Sherry, and his sons, Andrew and Matthew.

- Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province


On behalf of the Atlantic 10 Conference, we all were heartbroken to learn of the tragic passing of St. Bonaventure President Dr. Dennis DePerro.  Well respected by his peers in the A-10 and nationally, he was beloved by all. A visionary leader, he was an advocate for the students and the university. He arrived at St. Bonaventure with an already distinguished career in higher education, and his distinctive style of leadership was embraced by the SBU community. We mourn with our colleagues, the A-10 Presidents Council, and the St. Bonaventure community.  We have lost an amazing leader, family man and friend, but are inspired by his life. I offer the prayers of the entire Atlantic 10 to Dr. DePerro’s family, the St. Bonaventure community, and Bonnies athletics.

- A-10 Commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade

cicu logoDr. Dennis DePerro believed in the power of education and was a champion of students across New York State. His legacy of dedication to higher education in Upstate New York was second to none, including his work at his alma mater, Canisius College, his long tenure at Le Moyne College, and culminating in the presidency of St. Bonaventure University. Dr. DePerro’s vision to build ‘A Bolder Bonaventure’ and the transformative programs he developed throughout the institution, will no doubt leave a lasting impression on the St. Bonaventure community for generations. He will be deeply missed.

On behalf of New York’s Independent Sector of higher education, we are heartbroken over the loss of such a vital and warm member of our community. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, and the many students, alumni, and faculty of St. Bonaventure University, Le Moyne College, and Canisius College whose lives he touched.

- CICU Interim President Dr. Drew Bogner 

CCAAIt is with deep sadness that we share the passing of Dr. Dennis DePerro former member of the CCAA Board of Directors & most recently president of St. Bonaventure.

Please join us in praying for Dennis, his family & the SBU community during this difficult time.

View the entire statement.

- National CCAA President Jean Marie Cox

Campus Ministry at St. John Fisher College sends condolences to our friends at St. Bonaventure University on the passing of their president, Dr. Dennis DePerro. Dr. DePerro has been suffering from COVID for over 2 months. He and Dr. Rooney have been friends for over 35 years.

May angels led him to Paradise, the new and eternal Jerusalem.

- SJFC Campus Ministry

We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of St. Bonaventure University President Dennis DePerro today. President DePerro led St. Bonaventure in a dignified, caring way that created a thriving environment for students to learn, professors to teach, and the entire campus to flourish. We will greatly miss his integrity, his compassion, and his dedication to serving his students and the broader university community. Jean and I share our thoughts and prayers with President DePerro’s family and friends, as well as the staff and students at St. Bonaventure University as we all mourn this loss.

- U.S. Rep. Tom Reed