Charlie Constantino ’61
“Help when you can, wherever you can, as often as you can.” That’s the philosophy Charlie Constantino’s mother and father preached to him from a young age.
Among the first Catholic parishioners to donate to the Basilian Fathers plan to found St. John Fisher College in the mid-1940s, the Constantino family fulfilled their pledge slowly but steadily, a few dollars at a time.
“My parents wanted us to go to college, but wanted us to stay close, and Fisher could fulfill that,” Constantino says. “They gave their hard earned dollars to help it, and they always had an expectation that at least one of their three boys would go to Fisher.”
As the first born, Constantino lived out the dream of his parents when he enrolled at Fisher as a first generation college student in 1957. At the College on the hill, he felt he had left one big family environment for another.
“I was never without support or people to be there in good times and bad times,” he says. “That’s how I felt about Fisher then and I still do today.”
Some might say Constantino brought his family to Fisher, too. In all, more than 30 immediate and extended members of his family have attended the College, including two of his children, and several cousins, nieces and nephews, and grandchildren.
As an alumnus and a past member and chair of the College’s Board of Trustees, he has had an up close and intimate relationship with Fisher for more than 50 years. In that time, he has seen the academic offerings grow, class sizes soar, and buildings climb on campus. Nevertheless, he says, the essence of the College has remained instilled in its walls and its people. “The College has generated a spirit through its trustees, administration, faculty, and students—the entire Fisher community—that has been passed down from year to year,” he says.
In partnership with his wife, Elaine, Constantino has been a benefactor of the Constantino Family Scholarship and the First Generation Scholarship, putting into action the philosophy he learned from his parents as a child. Through support of each scholarship, the Constantinos have brought hundreds of undergraduates into the Fisher family. They say it is all about helping students attend a college where they can reach their potential.
“The Fisher experience is so good; it will exceed your expectations in terms of the impact of your gift. We couldn’t be prouder of the character of the students that we graduate and the involvement they bring to their respective communities,” he says. “Why give? There is no risk. If you are a giver and you want to feel good about the fact that your contribution was well-invested on your behalf, Fisher is the place. Try it. It will make you feel good.”