For Immediate Release: November 18, 2015
Providence, R.I. – Providence College announced today a $500,000 pledge by professor emeritus of business administration Gustave C. Coté, for the Arthur and Patricia Ryan Center for Business Studies, which will house the College’s School of Business program (PCSB). The facility is expected to open in 2017.
In appreciation, PC will name the accounting and finance instructional laboratory off the building’s atrium for Coté, who is 92, and for his wife, Rita, who died in 2009.
“Gus Cote was the face of PC’s Business Studies program for multiple generations of Providence College students,” said President Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P. “He brought both energy and passion to his teaching, and he was able to pass that on to the lion’s share of the students who sat in his classes. Gus is remembered fondly at PC, and we are most grateful to him for this generous gift to the College for the Arthur and Patricia Ryan Center for Business Studies.”
For more than 35 years, Coté has been a dynamic presence at PC, supporting every College fundraising campaign and making substantial gifts for construction of the Smith Center for the Arts and St. Dominic Chapel. He retired in 1989, but always maintained his unflagging generosity to PC and his ties to former students.
“Gus Coté was a masterful professor who set a standard — as an engaged, caring, and knowledgeable teacher — that we endeavor to follow to this day,” said Dr. Sylvia Maxfield, School of Business dean. “His generous support carries extra meaning for us, because it reflects a lifetime of commitment to Providence College and its students.”
A native of Woonsocket, R.I., where he graduated from Mount Saint Charles Academy, Coté served in the U.S. Army in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He graduated from La Salle University in 1951 and earned an MBA from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania in 1952, the same year he was hired to teach business administration at PC.
Coté was named assistant professor in 1955, associate professor in 1959, and professor in 1965. He served as vice chair of the business administration department from 1969-1973 and as chair from 1973-1978. From 1962-1965, he was on leave to work for Lybrand, Ross Bros. & Montgomery, an international accounting firm that now is PricewaterhouseCoopers. During that period, he also earned his C.P.A. from the state of Massachusetts.
He said the gift acknowledges three of his loves: teaching, accountancy, and the young people he taught along the way.
“My wife is no longer with me, but she was very, very much involved with me in helping out young people, primarily,” said Coté. “The idea is that we had no children, and so we pretty much steered our help toward what we love, like the College. I’ve been a pretty happy individual. I don’t have one reason for giving. I give because I enjoy it.”
Coté is former president of the Rhode Island Society of Certified Public Accountants (RISCPA) and received its Distinguished Service in Education Award in 2005. He also served on the board of directors of RISCPA, chaired the New England Graduate Accounting Conference, and served for 10 years on the Advisory Committee for the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation.