News and analysis
February 06, 2011

No. 49 (tied): Patrick E. and Barbara A. Roche

Amount donated in 2010: $20-million

Beneficiary: Boston College

Donors’ background: Mr. Roche is the co-founder and retired chairman of Roche Bros. supermarkets chain, in Wellesley, Mass.

Mr. Roche, 81, and his wife, Barbara, 82, pledged $20-million to Boston College to endow its Center for Catholic Education, which trains undergraduate and graduate students to administer and teach in Catholic schools and universities nationwide and conducts research on Catholic institutions. The center will be named after the donors.

Mr. Roche grew up in the Roslindale neighborhood of Boston and graduated from Boston College in 1951 with a bachelor’s degree in accounting.

He said in a written statement that Catholic education held personal significance in his life. “Our mother died when my brothers and I were young kids, ages 6-12, and our faith and Catholic education helped with our upbringing,” he said. “Catholic education was a great gift in my life. When Barbara and I saw the number of Catholic schools that were closing, we wanted to help, and [Boston College] gave us an opportunity to do so.”

The college did not disclose a payment schedule for the gift.

—Caroline Bermudez

View more profiles of donors who gave the most in 2010.