Ardent Regis supporter Leonard Pomponio passes away, but his impact on students will continue for generations
Leonard Pomponio, a man whose generosity and passion propelled science education at Regis University into a new era, has passed away at the age of 90.
In 2006, Pomponio and his sister, Rosemary, gave $9.5 million to Regis – the largest single gift in the institution’s history. Pomponio and his sister, a retired Denver Public Schools teacher who died in 2007, owned commercial property at a key intersection a few miles north of campus.
The gift honored the entire Pomponio family, including their parents, Felix and Mary Helen, and their sister, Yolanda.
Their generosity paved the way for a major renovation of the science building on Regis’ Northwest Denver Campus. Originally built in 1966 and designed for lecture-based learning, the three-story building was remodeled to add contemporary and safer teaching laboratories for emerging science fields; flexible and technologically advanced classrooms; modern ventilation, electrical, disposal and gas systems; improved student/faculty research space; and updated safety and wheelchair accessibility features.
The upgrades not only strengthened science programs in Regis College, but also helped improve nursing programs and aided in the establishment of the School of Pharmacy.
The renovated science building, renamed the Felix Pomponio Family Science Center, opened its doors in January 2008. Today, science education at Regis takes an inquiry-based, hands-on and interdisciplinary approach.
“Leonard Pomponio’s passion for Regis University went hand-in-hand with his commitment to form capable and ethical leaders in the sciences,” said Father President John P. Fitzgibbons, S.J. “The lasting impact of his and Rosemary’s generosity will enable multiple generations of Regis students to benefit from a distinctive educational experience that prepares them to confront the challenges of the 21st century.”
Beyond the science gift, Pomponio’s generosity took other forms, including the donation of Pomponio Village, an apartment building that primarily houses Regis nursing and graduate health care students.
Pomponio regularly attended Mass at Regis, and also studied business in the 1950s, but his connection to the University dates back to the early 1900s. His father managed the farm of the Franciscan Sisters at Marycrest Convent – formerly located adjacent to campus – and was befriended by John Brisben Walker, an entrepreneur and developer who donated the land where Regis University now stands.