Giving back: the generous legacy of George E. Doty

A giant in Catholic philanthropy has passed away: George Doty, one of Fordham University’s biggest donors and the man who funded the restoration of the great dome of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

From CNEWA’s blog ONE-TO-ONE:

Over the years, George and his wife Marie, who died in 2008, have given selflessly to many causes near and dear to their hearts. They have been especially good to Catholic concerns for alleviating poverty, strengthening higher education and supporting family life. In addition, George, Marie and their children have selflessly and generously supported CNEWA’s mission with time, energy and financial resources.

Born on 15 February 1918, George earned his bachelor’s degree from New York’s Fordham College in Rose Hill in 1938 and later served as a former chair of Fordham’s Board of Trustees. A former managing partner of Goldman Sachs, he was active in the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, serving as lieutenant for the Eastern Lieutenancy from 1991 to 1992.

George Doty played an active role in many agency works, including full support for the rehabilitation and decoration of the Great Dome of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. This historic project brought together the church’s three custodians — Greek Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic and Franciscan, communities that had often been at odds with one another — ending a centuries-old standoff that could have resulted in the collapse of the ancient shrine.

“For decades, visitors to this holiest of Christian shrines … have left disappointed, even repelled. Expecting a shrine that related to their spiritual or aesthetic understanding of the Paschal Mystery — the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ — the pilgrims instead entered a dark, cavernous space containing a number of chapels, each used exclusively by one of the Christian communities,” wrote Bishop Denis Madden of Baltimore (then CNEWA’s associate secretary general) about the restoration project and its dedication.

“For 68 years, the dome had been concealed from public view. With mouths open, heads tilted back, and audible signs of delight, all looked up to the heavens, to the brilliant light that represents the glory of the Lord.”

Fordham took note of his generosity a few years ago:

Like clockwork, Fordham can count on George E. Doty, the man who has given more consistently than anyone in the University’s history. Every year since 1957, Doty, a former chair of the Board of Trustees and managing partner of Goldman Sachs, has lent his support. His gifts have bolstered several University initiatives, including the Marie Ward Doty University Chair in Psychology, the renovation of the University Church and the Annual Fund.

“I was fascinated by the mind-stretching that occurred as part of my Jesuit education,” said Doty, who worked the night shift at the incinerator on West 56 th Street during the height of the Great Depression to pay for his Fordham tuition. “I later went to Columbia to get a master’s degree, but I never got the same mind-stretching experience that I’d gotten at Fordham.” Doty’s Fordham education enabled him to work for 17 years at the accounting firm of Lybrand, Ross Bros. and Montgomery before joining Goldman as a partner in 1964.

“We recruited people from all the best universities and graduate schools, and I never felt at an intellectual disadvantage to anyone I ran into there,” he said.

Doty said the idea for his gift to help restore the University Church came in part because his wife, the late Marie J. Ward Doty, noticed that the kneelers needed work. Just as he and a cadre of other successful alumni helped Fordham negotiate a period of financial uncertainty in the early 1970s, Doty said he merely did what needed to be done.

“If I did not have the Catholic faith and I wanted to invent a faith for myself, what would I do? I think I would reinvent the Catholic faith. It may sound foolish, but I think of a loving God, a forgiving God. How can you beat that?” he said. “So I guess I’m convinced both on faith and on logic that Fordham is the best place to be.”

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him…


  1. Deacon Dick says:

    May His Memory Be Eternal!

  2. joe mc faul says:

    Nice. A life well lived.

  3. Nino Dublin says:

    Just want to share. George & Marie Doty is also one of constant benefactor of The Servant of God, Msgr. Aloysius Schwartz (usually called Fr. Al) mission for the poor in South Korea, Philippines, Mexico & Brazil. With love, they are sharing their blessings to the poorest of the poor in those country. In Philippines, Fr. Al’s Sisters of Mary School ( provides free all live-in high standard secondary & technical education to children from poor families around the country. Aside from this, Sisters of Mary School also nurtured the spiritual life of the children. We (yes its we because I’m one of the alumni) are very gratefully to God for giving us Daddy George, Mommy Marie & their family. We love them so much.

  4. He is all one of the main venifactor for the Sister of Mary School which operates in South Korea, Philippines, Brazil, Guatemala and Honduras.
    Rest in Peace Daddy George
    May your good works here on earth be paid off.

    Fr. Aloysius Schwartz is waiting for you in heaven.

  5. How much my grandfather did will never be known. He was humble and never asked for recognition for his donations. Thank you for writing this.

  6. Daddy George Doty, you will remain alive in the hearts of thousands of us! You just have to pass away to reap your greater ‘reward’. We love you and we thank God for sending you to us, inorder to be of constant support to the wonderful programs of Fr. Al and the Sisters of Mary…We will continue to pray for your family and we hope to ease their sorrows through our unending prayers of gratitude. Even the spaces inside wouldn’t be enough if we are to compress our words of gratitude and love. We are now numbering to almost 50 thousand graduates here in the Philippines and many more in other countries whom you have helped, whom you’ve made whole, whom you have inspired to get on with our dreams and help our own families. It’s far to be like you, but your inspiration would lead us closer to helping back the Sisters of Mary in return…Say our ”hello” to Fr. Al!

    ‘Til we meet again! We love you very much!

    ~ From your children here in the Philippines
    ASMSI Philippines

  7. Edmundo O. Bausin Jr. says:

    I never seen him personal but im very thankful that i was one of the STUDENTS of Sister Of Mary School….Thank you Sir GEORGE DOTY for giving me hope again ….to fulfill my dreams and finished my studies….

    May YOU REST in PEACE>>>
    Thank you.. DADDY GEORGE

  8. ian mark guintivano says:

    George Doty has really done great things. he was unselfish, he had shared much of his blessings to the poorest of the poor like us.. a product of the Sisters of Mary School which is founded by Fr. Aloysius Schwartz.


  1. [...] By Deacon Greg Kandra Leave a CommentYesterday, I posted on the passing of Catholic philanthropist George E. Doty.Now there’s word that another great New York benefactor has died:Florence D’Urso of Pelham [...]

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