Chairman & CEO
Alfred State College, NY
Retired accounting professor Thomas Dunn recalls that before Tom Golisano had finished the first semester of his course at Alfred State College he was sure the young man would do well in business.
"He was just the type of student you knew would be successful," Dunn said, describing the freshman Golisano as "determined" and "self-motivated."
Golisano started Paymaster in 1971 at the age of 30 by borrowing on his credit card. Golisano was so successful in Rochester, New York, that franchises were opening up in other cities. In 1979 these various operations were consolidated into Paychex, Inc., which in 1983 sold stock publicly.
Since then the company’s steady growth and an ever-expanding array of services has made it a favorite of Wall Street analysts and investors. Last year Paychex reported $728 million in revenue.
Golisano says the tedium of his first job — counting money in a bank basement — convinced him he had to go to college.
Now he uses his personal fortune to support educational and civic causes like reducing teen pregnancies, and combating illegal drug use and alcohol abuse.