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OLEAN – St. Bonaventure University has received a $1 million gift for upgrades to its athletic fields.

Bonaventure alumnus Tom Marra and his wife, Michelle, donated the $1 million to jump-start the university’s $3 million campaign for a new athletic fields complex.

“Athletics have been a huge part of my life and college career,” said Marra, a 1980 Bonaventure graduate and former third baseman for the Bonnies. “It’s very important to us to ensure quality athletic facilities and operating support for our student-athletes and coaches.”

The $1 million gift, along with the $900,000 the Marras donated six years ago for the university’s baseball complex, are the largest ever given to the school’s athletic department.

The new project includes artificial turf, seating and media facilities on both the soccer-lacrosse and softball fields. Lighting will be installed on the soccer-lacrosse field, which will also be used by club and intramural teams.

It is one of the first projects in a proposed $18.8 million overhaul of the university’s athletic facilities.

“The Marras’ commitment will provide the main impetus to the field project fundraising, which is critical not only to athletics, but to the university as a whole,” said Steve Watson, the university’s athletic director.

Marra, a Bonaventure trustee for the past several years, worked 30 years at Hartford Life Inc., where he rose to the position of president and chief operating officer.

In 2010, he was named president and CEO of Symetra, a diversified financial services company based in Bellevue, Wash.

email: citydesk@buffnews.com