Alumnus endowment to support Gannon


Faith Wilson, Staff Writer

A $250,000 donation from a Gannon University alumnus and his wife will enable the school to create an endowment that focuses on biomedical ethics and Catholic Social Teaching.

The gift was given by Richard G. Orlando, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology from Gannon in 1976, and his wife, Cynthia Orlando, a Youngstown State University graduate.

Richard Orlando went on to receive his medical degree from The Ohio State University College of Medicine in 1979. He was a founder of the Columbus Ophthalmology Associates and served as the president for more than 30 years. He was also named Gannon’s Distinguished Alumni Award recipient in 2005.

Orlando retired in January after 40 years in the medical field and now serves as the director for the COA Research Foundation that he founded in 2000. COA provides grants for clinical studies on surgical devices and techniques.

The gift will fund the Orlando Biomedical Ethics and Catholic Social Teaching Endowment.

The endowment is to help Gannon students in understanding ethical considerations related to caring for a human life and provide the tools needed to prepare them for situations they may encounter in their professional careers.

Due to its focus on medical treatment, the endowment will go through Gannon’s School of Public Health and Health Sciences and the Morosky College of Health Professions and Sciences.

Some of the funding will be used to start a lecture series. The noncredit lectures will be open to the public and students who are looking to further their education. It will include a speaker series, research opportunities and additional curriculum development across all disciplines. The series will take place once a year, occurring on the Erie campus in fall of 2021 and the Ruskin campus in fall of 2022.

“My hope is that Gannon students, as well as faculty, will be ethical leaders in all walks of life,” Orlando said in a press release issued last week by the university. “That they will stand up for those who are forgotten and will serve everyone in their life equally and with the same passion of giving that is part of our Mission statement.”

Barbara Beuscher, Gannon’s vice president of advancement, said donations are a very important part of the educational process.

Beuscher said student tuition doesn’t cover the full amount it costs to keep the campus up and running. She said donations from parents, faculty and staff, and alumni help to keep costs down for the students while still giving them a great education.

Beuscher said that gifts such as the one the Orlandos gave help not only to keep student tuition low, but also contribute to the growth and betterment of Gannon, as well as create more opportunities for students to gain an edge in their future careers.

Beuscher said last year, Gannon received the third highest yearly amount of donations, peaking at $11 million.

She said for faculty and staff, the Orlandos’ donation is a vote of confidence in the institution they work for and for alumni, it is a vote of confidence in their alma mater, giving back to a university that gave them the tools needed to succeed.

“I am really excited about the investment; it aligns closely with our mission and has gone on to inspire others,” Beuscher said. “Already we have had people step forward and add to the gift from the Orlandos.”

Even Gannon students are excited about the new developments coming to campus.

Grace Bobosky, a junior occupational therapy major, said the recent donation will truly promote the learning and growth of students both in the classroom and as professionals.

“Being cognizant of ethics in the health care profession is such an important topic to cover, especially in today’s day and age,” Bobosky said.

“As a future health care professional, I look forward to the upcoming opportunities this donation will bring to Gannon.”


[email protected]