The Turchi name is very familiar to members of the Siena College community; it graces the Turchi Theater and Turchi Road on the Siena campus. Indeed, Gino Turchi is a philanthropist in the truest sense of the word, and today Siena is privileged to recognize his generosity and compassion for others.
One of the first loves in Gino's life was golf. When Gino was only eight years old, his older brother, August (now deceased), who was a caddy at the Mohawk Country Club, taught Gino the rules of golf and started him caddying. In 1963, Gino purchased 145 acres of farmland in Ballston Lake, New York, to build a golf course, which was the dream of his life.
Gino built and designed the Northway Heights Golf Club, now Eagle Crest Golf Club, between 1963 and 1967. On December 7, 1980, Gino Turchi made the first and still only hole in one of the course, from the back tee of hole #17. Gino and his wife, Willie, have blessed Siena with several donations that illustrate both his generous spirit and his passion for sports. The Turchis' assistance supports golf scholarships for both men and women, and they have helped make possible the expansion of the Callanan Field House.
However, golf and athletics are not Gino's only passions. As an "angel" support of those in need, he has quietly paid the bills for many with medical emergencies or bereavement-associated needs, covering expenses such as hospital stays and travel costs, never expecting any reimbursement for .his assistance. Nonetheless, he has received recognitions for his generosity: In 2004, Gino was honored with the Capital District YMCA President's Award for his "outstanding service, unselfish commitment, and dedication." He has long supported the YMCA mission, and his contributions and advocacy have helped that organization to expand the facilities it offers the community. The Turchi Family Center at the Schenectady YMCA, is named for the Turchi's son, Eugene, who died in 1993.
As Father Kevin Mackin, OFM, the President of Siena College has noted, "Siena is proud of our friendship with the Turchis and pleased that they have chosen to adopt Siena as 'their college.’” Today, Siena College celebrates Gino Turchi with the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters.