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St. Bonaventure President Dr. Dennis DePerro dies of COVID-19

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Posted at 10:18 AM, Mar 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-01 10:42:05-05

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. (WKBW) — St. Bonaventure University announced President Dr. Dennis R. DePerro died March 1 as a result of complications of COVID-19. He was 62.

The university said he was admitted to a Syracuse hospital December 29 after testing positive for COVID-19 on Christmas Eve and was placed on a ventilator in mid-January.

“Words simply can’t convey the level of devastation our campus community feels right now,” said Dr. Joseph Zimmer, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, who was named acting president late last month while Dr. DePerro was in recovery. “I know when people die it’s become cliché to say things like, ‘He was a great leader, but an even better human being,’ and yet, that’s the absolute truth with Dennis. We are heartbroken.”

The university flag will fly at half-staff in his honor through the end of March.

“His humanity, his insight, his ability to listen to all sides, his sense of humor — all of that made him a great leader,” said Tom Missel, chief communications officer. “What I’ll miss more than anything was his uncanny ability to make you feel better even on your worst days. He had a unique gift. I loved that man with all my heart. I know there are thousands of people who would say the same thing.”

DePerro became the university's 21st president June 1, 2017.