EAST ELMHURST, Queens (WABC) -- The CEO of American Express has made a $2.1 million donation to his former high school in Queens.
American Express Chairman and CEO Steve Squeri made the donation Tuesday at Monsignor McClancy Memorial High School in East Elmhurst.
The donation happens to be the largest gift in the school's history and follows 10 years of other improvements that Squeri has already been behind, centered around the classroom.
The money will go towards building a new athletic facility with fields for soccer, track and baseball, and supporting athletic teams at the school.
"Looking back on that first day of school, I never would've imagined this news or that I'd be in a position to make a personal donation to fund a sports complex for my alma mater," Squeri said.
Student-athletes are proud and excited for the new all-turf fields for soccer, softball, baseball and track.
"It's better we don't have to rake the field or worry about games getting canceled because of rain delays," said student Ashely Destefano.
Squeri said it is where he learned how to learn and love it.
"McClancy was an instrumental building block for me spiritually, physically and mentally and I want to be an example for the kids, I'm a local guy and I want to give kids the opportunity to have the same success I have had," Squeri said.
Squeri also won't let Queens or his favorite places go and still gets his hair cut at the same place for the past 50 years.
"Salon is Redken Saloon Grand Ave., Pizza piccolo Venezia restaurant and Perizia's bread and Grand Liquors as well," he said.
He says it's a way to give back to what gave him so much.
"I want to encourage all to give back to their communities, any amount large or small, time or talent because it makes a difference to those who do not have as much," Squeri said.
There is a groundbreaking targeted for June with the completion slated for October 2021.
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