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WORCESTER, Mass. (AP) - An alumnus who donated $25 million to the College of the Holy Cross- the single largest gift in school history- for a performing arts center said he did it because he wants to bring more "fun" to campus.

"I started to think about what I could leave behind," Cornelius Prior Jr. said Wednesday during an announcement at the Roman Catholic college. He decided to "put it in something that was fun for me and for you."

Prior, who is 79 and a 1956 graduate with a degree in English, said there wasn't much in the way of arts on campus back then, something that has since changed. In fact, he was regaled after the announcement by members of the college's choir wearing T-shirts reading "Thank you for making the arts a Prior-ity."

"The arts give you that joyous feeling ... It elevates you," Prior said, according to the Telegram & Gazette ( "At the same time you're having fun, you're experiencing another dimension."

Holy Cross President the Rev. Philip Boroughs noted that the gift came at the start of Lent.

"Today, we begin a new springtime for the arts at the College of the Holy Cross, because of Neil Prior, an alumnus, a philanthropist and inspiring man who wants us to be all we can be," Boroughs said.

Prior, who started his career as a lawyer with Sullivan & Cromwell in New York, lives in the Virgin Islands and is chairman of the board of Atlantic Tele-Network Inc., a Beverly-based telecommunications services company. He is a former U.S. Navy officer and Fulbright scholar and is a graduate of Harvard Law School.


Information from: Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, Mass.),

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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