Fund Raising

Baylor U. to Receive $200-Million Bequest for the Study of Aging

March 04, 2010

A graduate of Baylor University has pledged to leave a bequest with an estimated value of $200-million to the university for the study of aging, Baylor announced on Thursday. When received, it would be the university's largest donation.

The gift will finance research in the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Social Work, and other university programs. The university, in Waco, Tex., said the interdisciplinary nature of the gift would contribute to a holistic study of aging, including the physical, psychological, social, emotional, and spiritual needs of the aging population.

"By design, this gift will lead to collaborative efforts among departments and across school boundaries," Lee Nordt, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, said in a written statement.

The donor, who has requested anonymity, comes from a family with a history of giving to Baylor, especially for programs focused on diseases, health care, and other issues of aging, the university said. After the donor's death, a foundation will be established and will make annual payments to Baylor for 50 years, and then give the university a portion of the foundation's remaining money, said Dennis A. Prescott, vice president for university development.

Baylor, the world's largest Baptist university, has been pursuing a strategic plan to both raise its research profile and strengthen its Christian identity. Two weeks ago, the university named Kenneth W. Starr, the former independent counsel who investigated President Bill Clinton, as its new president.

Although Mr. Prescott declined to say why the donor had announced the gift at this time—Baylor is not in an active fund-raising campaign—he did say the donor wanted to inspire others to give to the university.

"For someone to make this sort of investment in Baylor's future represents a huge vote of confidence, in my view," Mr. Prescott said.

In the written statement, Mr. Starr said that the planned gift, pledged in a time of economic instability, signified a "profound confidence" in Baylor and a shared commitment to reaching its goals.