Picotte Hall at Dundale is named in memory of Bernard and Kathleen Picotte, who taught their children the love of God, family, and education. Bernard and Kathleen instilled in their children a strong sense of faith, a loyalty of family, and a commitment to education, values which have defined the Picotte family.
Bernard Picotte faced adversity early in life when his father’s business interests were destroyed by a Florida hurricane in 1927. Bernard returned home from boarding school to spend his non-school time laboring with his father to continue building homes. He borrowed tuition money from the family grocer to attend Temple University’s two-year real estate program. The sacrifices he made to leave his father at that critical time and work multiple jobs for room and board demonstrated his respect for education, which he taught his family. He was later the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Letters from Siena College, which brought him great joy.
Kathleen McManus Picotte influenced her family through her demonstrated love of God, along with an infectious sense of humor. Kathleen grew up in Albany, N.Y., the daughter of a popular haberdasher. She was an accomplished violinist who played with the Albany Symphony Orchestra. After graduating from the College of St. Rose, she taught special education students until starting a family of her own. A devout Irish Catholic, Kathleen was beacon of faith for her family, rousing her children from bed to attend mass before school every morning during Lent. Impressing upon her children the importance of education, she often recited the phrase, “The only thing that can’t be taken away from you is your education.” Kathleen guided her home with abundance of both love and humor. She had a way of looking at life that could put humor into just about every situation, and her children all walked away with that gift from her.
Bernard and Kathleen Picotte were shining examples of the values of love of God, family and education – values their children and grandchildren drew upon to form close family ties and build a family business.