Recent Private Gifts to Higher Education (April 2017)

April 09, 2017

Two of the top gifts were from a retired energy executive and his wife, who gave $50 million to the University of Texas at Austin and $25 million to the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center for medical research. Two other gifts of $50 million and $30 million were also for medical research, while many smaller gifts were designated to support new academic and athletics buildings, scholarships, and endowed faculty chairs.

RankInstitutionDonorDonor backgroundSize of giftPurpose
1. U. of California at San Francisco William K. Bowes Jr. Foundation founding partner of the California investment firm U.S. Venture Partners, and a founding shareholder and former chairman of the biopharmaceutical company Amgen (Mr. Bowes Jr., who died in December) $50 million (pledge) creation of a program to support faculty researchers pursuing unconventional biomedical research
1. U. of Texas at Austin Mulva Family Foundation (James and Miriam Mulva) former chairman and chief executive of the energy company ConocoPhillips (Mr. Mulva) $50 million creation of the Mulva Clinic for the Neurosciences
3. Indiana U. School of Medicine Donald Brown chief executive of Interactive Intelligence, a communication-technologies company that was acquired by Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories for $1.4 billion in December, and an alumnus who earned a bachelor's, master's of science, and medical degree from the university $30 million establishment of the Brown Center for Immunotherapy, with $13 million devoted to creating five endowed faculty chairs and the rest to infrastructure, technologies, and research support
4. U. of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center Mulva Family Foundation (James and Miriam Mulva) former chairman and chief executive of the energy company ConocoPhillips (Mr. Mulva) $25 million support for research on melanoma and prostate cancer
5. Fordham U. Maurice and Carolyn Dursi Cunniffe chairman and chief executive of the investment firm Vista Capital, university alumnus, and former trustee (Mr. Cunniffe); former senior vice president at Cablevision Systems, an alumna who earned bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees at Fordham, and a trustee (Ms. Cunniffe) $20 million fund for merit scholarships
5. Northern State U. Anonymous n/a $20 million support for construction of new dormitories
5. Vanderbilt U. Jeffrey and Marieke Rothschild co-founder of Veritas Software, founding vice president for engineering at Facebook, and an alumnus who earned a bachelor's degree in psychology at the university in 1977 and a master's in computer science in 1979 (Mr. Rothschild) $20 million support for continued development of the university's residential colleges
8. Northern State U. Anonymous n/a $15 million support for construction of a new math and science building
9. Stevens Institute of Technology Gianforte Family Foundation (Greg Gianforte) founder and former chief executive of RightNow Technologies, a customer-support-solutions company that was sold to Oracle for $1.8 billion in 2012; managing director of the Bozeman Technology Incubator; alumnus who earned a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering and a master's in computer science at Stevens (Mr. Gianforte) $10 million naming gift for the Gianforte Academic Center, an interdisciplinary educational and research facility that Mr. Gianforte previously donated $10 million to help build
10. Seton Hall U. Anonymous n/a $8 million (pledge) endowed faculty chair in chemistry and biochemistry, and support for research, programs, and student scholarships
10. U. of Missouri at Columbia Anonymous n/a $8 million construction of a new football facility
12. Tallahassee Community College Anonymous n/a $7.9 million (pledge to be paid out over 20 years) student scholarships
13. California State U. at Los Angeles William and Patricia Chin former founding partner and executive medical director of HealthCare Partners (Mr. Chin); retired director and emerita faculty member of the university's School of Nursing who earned bachelor's and master's degrees at the university in the 1980s (Ms. Chin) $7 million naming gift for the Patricia A. Chin School of Nursing, establishment of the Chin Family Institute for Nursing, and creation of a nursing-simulation laboratory
14. Florida State U. Albert J. and Judith A. Dunlap former chief executive of Scott Paper Company and Sunbeam, and a director at large for the Seminole Boosters, the fund-raising arm of Florida State's athletics (Mr. Dunlap); member of the university's athletics board (Ms. Dunlap) $5 million (pledge) naming gift for premium seating at the Doak Campbell Stadium
14. U. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Florence Fearrington founder, in 1979, of her own money-management firm, which she later sold to U.S. Trust; university alumna with a bachelor's degree in mathematics $5 million support for the university library, including $1 million to renovate the Fearrington Reading Room and adjacent exhibition areas, and $4 million to create the Fearrington Special Collections Library Fund
16. Gustavus Adolphus College Robert and Beth Sparboe Schnell president and chief executive of Sparboe Farms and a college alumna and trustee (Ms. Schnell); senior vice president at the Christensen Group and a college alumnus (Mr. Schnell) $4 million creation of two endowed faculty positions in economics and management
17. Gustavus Adolphus College Anonymous n/a $3.7 million (cash) two new scholarship programs for students with top academic performance
18. George Washington U. Char Beales and her husband, Howard former president and chief executive of the Cable and Telecommunications Association for Marketing (Ms. Beales); a professor and chair of the department of strategic management and public policy at the university's School of Business (Mr. Beales) $3.2 million (pledge) creation of an endowed professorship in journalism in the School of Media and Public Affairs
19. U. of Missouri at Columbia Anonymous n/a $3.1 million (pledge) support for the softball program and its scholarship fund
20. Columbus State U., College of Letters and Sciences Donald Jordan author and real-estate investor $3 million creation of an endowment to support the Donald L. Jordan Prize in Traditional American Writing, as well as a professorship in creative writing and a study-abroad program
20. Pennsylvania State U. at University Park Ted and Tracy McCourtney investor and a former general partner at Venrock Associates (Mr. McCourtney); alumna and former social worker (Ms. McCourtney) $3 million establishment of the Tracy and Ted McCourtney Endowed Professorship Matching Gift Program to create six to nine additional endowed professorships in the College of the Liberal Arts
22. Miami U. (Ohio) Ruth McConnell, in honor of her parents, Wallace and Della McConnell 1946 graduate with a bachelor's degree in literature, former administrative assistant at Stanford University, and daughter of Wallace McConnell, a geography professor at the university (Ruth McConnell, who died in 2015) $2.3 million (bequest) support for the library's Walter Havighurst Special Collections and for teaching and research programs in the geography department
23. Binghamton U. Anonymous n/a $2.2 million upgrade of the baseball field
24. Bethel College (Kan.) Douglas C. and Jane M. Seibel alumna (Ms. Seibel) $2 million (pledge) establishment of an endowed chair in accountancy
24. U. of Missouri at St. Louis Stan and Terry Freerks area president of RPS, a wholesale insurance-brokerage firm, and an alumnus who earned an M.B.A. at the St. Louis campus (Mr. Freerks); executive director of the Clayton Shaw Park Swim Club, a retired mental-health counselor, and an alumna with a bachelor's degree in history and master's degree in education from the St. Louis campus (Ms. Freerks) $2 million (pledge) continuing support for scholarships, capital campaigns, athletics, the arts, St. Louis Public Radio, and other programs in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, and Business Administration
24. U. of California at Davis Ken Grossman and his wife, Katie Gosner founder of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company (Mr. Grossman) $2 million establishment of an endowment to support a full-time staff brewing position in the brewing-science program in the university's department of food science and technology.
27. Valparaiso U. Stephanie E. Umbach daughter of a long-serving English professor at Valparaiso, a university alumna, and a longtime assistant professor of library services there who retired in 2009 and died last year $1.8 million (bequest) establishment of the Umbach Family Endowed Scholarship Fund
28. U. of Missouri at Columbia Anonymous n/a $1.67 million support of $1 million for a new football facility and the rest for athletics efforts
29. College of William & Mary Cathy Bessant, John Clay, Millie West, and Tracy Leinbach chief operations and technology officer at Bank of America and parent, with Mr. Clay, of a William & Mary student who is a member of its field-hockey team (Ms. Bessant); former tennis coach and director of women's athletics at the college (Ms. West); former chief financial officer and executive vice president at the transportation company Ryder System and alumna (Ms. Leinbach) $1.4 million support for a field-hockey multi-use building
29. U. of Missouri at Columbia Anonymous n/a $1.4 million construction of a new football facility
31. Valparaiso U. Lesley Chapman president, senior technical manager, and cofounder of OCS Environmental, an environmental consulting and technical-services company, and a Valparaiso alumnus with a bachelor's degree in chemistry $1.1 million (pledge) support for the unrestricted endowment fund
32. Benedictine U. Katherine (Kay) Birck, widow of Michael Birck co-founder and former chief executive and chairman of the telecommunications company Tellabs, parent (with Ms. Birck) of a 1988 university graduate, and a former university trustee (Mr. Birck, who died in 2015 ) $1 million scholarships for talented, financially needy students in the College of Science
32. Culver-Stockton College Betty Dancey daughter of Russell Dancey, a co-founder of New Era Potato Chip Company, which later merged with Frito-Lay and is now part of PepsiCo $1 million naming gift to support construction of a residence hall, which will be named in honor of Robert and Carolyn Brown, the college's former president and his wife
32. Florida Gulf Coast U. Mike and Karen Hartley former work in manufacturing (Mr. Hartley); past work in hotel management (Ms. Hartley) $1 million creation of the Hartley Academic Resource Center for student athletes in the Alico Arena
32. Michigan State U. Craig Bush private-equity investor and 1983 university alumnus $1 million support for construction of lights at DeMartin Stadium, for the men's and women's soccer teams
32. Poynter Institute for Media Studies Craig Newmark Foundation founder of the classified-advertising website Craigslist and a member of the Poynter Foundation board (Mr. Newmark) $1 million support for a faculty chair in journalism ethics
32. St. Mary's U. Bill Greehey founding chief executive of Valero Energy Corporation, and chairman of its spinoff, NuStar Energy, and an alumnus $1 million support for the Greehey Scholars Program
32. Trine U. Larry and Judy Reiners a former owner of Pro-Quip Corporation, which designed and fabricated gas and petroleum plants, and a university trustee who earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering at the university in 1965, when it was known as Tri-State College (Mr. Reiners) $1 million (pledge) support for construction of a new sports facility
32. U. of Arizona Health Sciences Jolita Leonas-Arzbaecher Chicago-area philanthropist $1 million support for the Center for Integrative Medicine.
32. U. of Missouri at Columbia Anonymous n/a $1 million support for construction of a new football facility
32. U. of Toledo Janet Keller and her husband, the Rev. Gerald Keller a former high-school Spanish teacher who earned bachelor's and master's degrees in education from the university in the 1960s (Ms. Keller) $1 million support for the Judith Herb College of Education
32. Villanova U. Sheila Labrecque, widow of Thomas Labrecque former chairman and chief executive of the Chase Manhattan Corporation and a Villanova alumnus and trustee (Mr. Labrecque, who died in 2000) $1 million support for construction of a new athletic-training complex
32. West Texas A&M U. Bob and Mary Stewart certified public accountant, former chief engineer at GSM Enterprises, and a 1972 university alumnus (Mr. Stewart) $1 million establishment of an endowment for athletics scholarships

Note: Gifts and biographical information were compiled from news articles, news releases, and The Chronicle of Philanthropy's online database of charitable gifts. Only gifts of $1 million or more in a given year are included in the database. The largest ones that were added to the database in the past few months are listed here. The value of gifts is based on information from institutions or donors at the time the gifts were promised or received. In cases of stock, property, art, and other noncash donations, actual value may have increased or decreased since the gifts were pledged or received. Gifts of the same amount are listed alphabetically by institution. Information on gifts can be sent to