Recent Private Gifts to Higher Education (May 2017)

May 21, 2017

Among the largest gifts of recent months are one of art valued at more than $100 million to Colby College's Museum of Art and a $20-million contribution to help the Massachusetts Institute of Technology establish a center for autism research. The largest gift, of $500 million, was a bequest to the University of California at San Francisco.

InstitutionDonorDonor backgroundSize of giftPurpose
1. U. of California at San Francisco Helen Diller Foundation late wife of Sanford Diller, founder of Prometheus Real Estate Group (Ms. Diller); she died in 2015 $500 million (bequest) $200 million for an endowment to recruit and retain outstanding faculty members; $200 million for an endowment for scholarships for students in four professional schools; $100 million to help advance innovations in biomedical research
2. Colby College Museum of Art Peter and Paula Lunder former president of Dexter Shoe Company, and a 1956 Colby graduate and life overseer (Mr. Lunder); life trustee of Colby (Ms. Lunder) more than $100 million (value of art) addition of more than 1,100 artworks to the museum's collection and creation of the Lunder Institute for American Art
3. Santa Clara U. John and Susan Sobrato founder and principal of the Sobrato Organization, a property-development company in Silicon Valley, 1960 graduate of Santa Clara, and a member of its Board of Trustees (Mr. Sobrato) $100 million support for construction of a 300,000-square-foot Sobrato Campus for Discovery and Innovation to promote cross-disciplinary undergraduate teaching and research
4. U. of Dubuque Edward Babka and his widow, Shirley Babka founder of Babka Publishing Company and Antique Trader, a magazine catering to antiques buyers and collectors, who served on Dubuque's Board of Trustees for 43 years and who died in 2016 (Mr. Babka) $60 million (estate pledge) endowment funds to support the Ed and Shirley Babka Scholarship Fund
5. Gordon College (Mass.) Anonymous n/a $25 million (pledge) endowment support, creation of the Gordon Global Honors Institute, and support for construction of the college's new Center for Leadership and the Arts building
5. U. of Notre Dame Helen Schwab, and her husband, Charles, in honor of Ms. Schwab's brother Joe O'Neill III investment banker (Mr. Schwab); managing partner of O'Neill Properties, in Texas, and a Notre Dame graduate and trustee (Mr. O'Neill) $25 million support for construction of the 100,000-square-foot O'Neill Hall, to house the music department, the Sacred Music at Notre Dame program, and hospitality space
7. Cornell College Jean Russell an endocrinologist who earned a degree in biology from Cornell College in 1965 and retired as a professor of endocrinology at Washington University in St. Louis in 1993 $20 million (pledge) support for construction of a four-story science building to house chemistry and biology classrooms and labs as well as office and research space; it will be the first new academic building on the campus in 40 years
7. Massachusetts Institute of Technology Hock Tan and Lisa Yang chief executive of chipmaker Broadcom and an MIT alumnus (Mr. Tan); retired investment banker (Ms. Yang) $20 million establishment of a center for autism research
7. Northwestern U. Howard Trienens a partner at the law firm Sidley Austin and a 50-year member of Northwestern's Board of Trustees who earned his bachelor's and law degrees from Northwestern in the 1940s $20 million (pledge) renovation of an athletics practice facility adjacent to the campus's Welsh-Ryan Arena; the facility will be named the Trienens Performance Center
7. Texas A&M Foundation John Hagler retired investment banker who was a partner at Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co., a hedge fund in Boston, and a 1958 graduate of Texas A&M $20 million endowment funds for the renamed Hagler Institute for Advanced Study, intended to attract and support academic visionaries from around the world
7. U. of Houston John P. McGovern Foundation (Kathrine McGovern) widow of John McGovern, a pediatrician and allergist who made a fortune through real-estate investments; student of art and design at Houston in the 1950s and '60s (Ms. McGovern) $20 million endowment for the College of the Arts, which was renamed for Ms. McGovern
12. U. of Southern California Harlan and Linda Martens former chief attorney of producing operations at Exxon Mobil, now retired, and a Southern Cal alumnus (Mr. Martens); former president of the National Charity League and a Southern Cal alumna (Ms. Martens) $15 million (pledge) endowed fund to support scholarships and fellowships at the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
13. Michigan State U. Albert Dehn a veterinarian who earned a veterinary degree from Michigan State in 1950; he died in 2016 $12.6 million (bequest) endowment for professorships in the College of Veterinary Medicine's departments of large-animal clinical science, and pathobiology and diagnostic investigations
14. U. of Utah the children of Robert H. and Katharine B. Garff executives at Ken Garff Automotive Group, which was founded in 1932 by Robert Garff's father (Robert Garff and his sons Matthew and John) $12 million naming gift for the new Robert H. and Katharine B. Garff Executive Education Building, which will house the David Eccles School of Business's M.B.A. programs
15. College of Saint Benedict Anonymous n/a $10 million (pledge) creation of and endowment for the Center for Ethical Leadership in Action, intended to increase study abroad, undergraduate research, and other experiential-learning opportunities
15. Marquette U. Raymond and Kathryn Eckstein founder of his own law practice and two transport companies, Wisconsin Barge Lines and Marquette Transportation (Mr. Eckstein); 1949 graduates of Marquette University $10 million (matching pledge) support for constructing a new residence hall
15. U. of Colorado at Boulder Ann Smead and her husband, Michael Byram wife, until his death in 2003, of H.J. Smead, who was an alumnus of Boulder and chief executive of Kaiser Aerospace and Electronics Corporation from 1974 to 1999 (Ms. Smead) $10 million support for the College of Engineering and Applied Science's aerospace-engineering department, which will be named for Ms. Smead and H.J. Smead
15. U. of North Carolina School of the Arts Anonymous n/a $10 million establishment of the school's Institute for Performance Innovation, creation of a graduate animatronics program, and support for a graduate program in gaming and virtual reality
15. U. of Texas at Dallas Margaret McDermott widow of Eugene McDermott, a geophysicist who co-founded Texas Instruments and helped start the Graduate Research Center of the Southwest, which later became the University of Texas at Dallas; he died in 1973 $10 million creation of an endowment to support undergraduate research in the Hobson Wildenthal Honors College, named, at the donor's request, for the university's chief academic officer
15. Vanderbilt U. Robert and Diane Levy retired chairman of the Chicago investment firm Harris Associates and a 1972 graduate of Vanderbilt (Mr. Levy) $10 million continued support for a scholarship fund they established to provide full financial aid to needy students
15. West Virginia U. College of Business and Economics Bob and Laura Reynolds president of Putnam Investments, Great-West Financial, and Great-West Lifeco U.S.; 1974 West Virginia alumnus; and a member of the WVU Foundation's Board of Directors and co-chairman of the university's current fund-raising campaign (Mr. Reynolds) $10 million initial support for a building, to be named for the donors, at a new business-school complex; other support for business education
22. U. of New Hampshire Judith Blake retired marketing executive and a 1977 New Hampshire graduate who mentors students and teaches classes on beverage management $8 million (pledge) scholarships for students in the business college and support for people participating in the university's Shoals Marine Laboratory and its Northeast Passage program, which pursues barrier-free recreation opportunities for people with disabilities
23. California State U. at Los Angeles Patricia and William Chin faculty member emerita and a retired director of the School of Nursing at Cal State at Los Angeles who earned bachelor's and master's degrees there in the 1980s (Ms. Chin); physician and founding partner and former executive medical director of HealthCare Partners (Mr. 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 lab
23. Cornell U. Atlantic Philanthropies (Charles Feeney) co-founder of the Duty-Free Shoppers store chain, now DFS Group, and a 1956 Cornell alumnus (Mr. Feeney) $7 million support for the Cornell Tradition, a fellowship program that provides work and scholarships to civic-minded undergraduates
25. Greensboro College Walter and Dennie Newton president of Newton Instrument Company, a telecommunications-equipment manufacturer started by his father, and former chair of Greensboro's Board of Trustees (Mr. Newton); daughter of a 1943 alumna (Ms. Newton); co-chairs of Greensboro's $15-million capital campaign $6 million (pledge) support for financial aid, faculty and staff salaries, academic programs, and capital improvements
25. U. of California at Santa Barbara "Linda La Kretz Duttenhaver and her father, Morton La Kretz former public-relations executive who graduated from the Santa Barbara campus in 1977 (Ms. Duttenhaver); founder of Crossroads Management, a property-management company (Mr. La Kretz) $6 million (pledge) establishment of the La Kretz Research Center at Sedgwick Reserve, a site for ecological education and study; endowment of a directorship for the center; and support for fellowships for graduate students conducting research at the reserve
27. Texas Christian U. Tom and Marilyn Sumner chief executive and chairman of Allpoints Service Corp., which provides land-surveying services to homebuilders, and a recipient of bachelor's and master's degrees from Texas Christian in 1967 and 1968 (Mr. Sumner); former career-education administrator, co-founder of a consulting company that advises school districts in the Houston area, and a recipient of a bachelor's degree from Texas Christian in 1968 (Ms. Sumner) $5.5 million expansion of the Neeley School of Business
28. College of New Rochelle Anonymous n/a $5 million support for a fund-raising campaign to keep the indebted college open
28. Denison U. Eisner Foundation (Michael D. Eisner) former chief executive of the Walt Disney Company, a 1964 alumnus of Denison, and a life trustee there (Mr. Eisner) $5 million support for a new center for performing arts, to be named for the donor
28. Oregon State U.-Cascades Anonymous n/a $5 million support for capital campaign to expand the campus, in Bend, Ore.
28. Tulane U. Anonymous n/a $5 million creation of a professorship for cross-disciplinary teaching and research (one of two such gifts)
28. Tulane U. Anonymous n/a $5 million creation of a professorship for cross-disciplinary teaching and research (one of two such gifts)
28. U. of Iowa Foundation Ted and Deb Pacha founder of Hawkeye Medical Supply, a health-care distribution company, and president of the consulting firm Theo Resources whose first job, at age 10, was selling soda at University of Iowa football games (Mr. Pacha) $5 million (pledge) renovation of the north end of Kinnick Stadium
28. U. of Texas at Austin Richard Rainwater investor, fund adviser, and Austin alumnus who died in 2015 $5 million (bequest) creation of an endowment to support the study of American music
28. U. of Virginia William and Joanne Conway co-founder and co-chief executive of the Carlyle Group, a private-equity firm (Mr. Conway) $5 million support for scholarships for more than 110 new nurses in the clinical nurse master's program with a focus on students from underrepresented and minority groups, including men
28. U. of West Florida Usha Kundu and her husband, Mahadeb physician (Ms. Kundu); engineer who earned his M.B.A. from West Florida in 1992 and was an adjunct professor there from 1984 to 1986. $5 million support for academic programs, faculty members, and equipment for researchers at the university's College of Health, which will be named the Usha Kundu, MD College of Health
28. Washington U. in St. Louis Ralph and Trish Nagel president of the investment fund Top Rock and founder and former director of Meridian Retirement Communities, and a Washington University alumnus and trustee (Mr. Nagel) $5 million endowment for a deanship in the Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts
28. Yale Law School Anonymous n/a $5 million support to help create a Robina Human Rights Initiative Endowment Fund for fellowships and academic programs in human rights and to help establish a clinical professorship in human rights
28. Yale Law School Anonymous n/a $5 million support for human-rights clinic
40. Buffalo State College the Richard E. and Patricia H. Garman family former chief executive of Buffalo Crushed Stone and ABC Paving Company (Mr. Garman); psychiatric nurse who taught at D'Youville College and who died in 2014 (Ms. Garman) $4 million support for the art-conservation department, which will be renamed for the donors
41. California State U. at Fullerton Giles T. Brown Trust a professor emeritus of history, and former associate vice president for academic affairs and dean of graduate studies at Fullerton, who died in 2013 (Mr. Brown) $3.2 million (bequest) support for endowment for graduate students and programs
42. Arizona State U. at Tempe, Sandra Day O'Connor School of Law Barbara Barrett and her husband, Craig former U.S. ambassador to Finland, businesswoman, and a recipient of bachelor's, master's, and law degrees at Arizona State in the 1970s (Ms. Barrett); former chief executive of Intel (Mr. Barrett) $3 million endowment for the O'Connor Justice Prize
42. Northwestern U. Tim and Sue Sullivan, and Jeff and Laurie Ubben managing partner of the health-care practice at the private-equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners and a Northwestern trustee (Mr. Sullivan); founder of the hedge fund ValueAct Capital, recipient of an M.B.A. from Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management in 1987, and a Northwestern trustee (Mr. Ubben); co-founder of the Bird School of Music in San Francisco and producer of the animated film Loving Vincent (Ms. Ubben) $3 million (pledge) endowment of the men's basketball head-coaching position and support for operations of the basketball program
42. United States Merchant Marine Academy Dean White and Ray Bartoszek former chief executive of the real-estate development company Whiteco Industries, founder of White Lodging Services Corp., and a 1945 graduate of the academy who died in 2016 (Mr. White); co-founder of the private-equity firm RLB Holdings, former Mariner baseball player, and 1986 alumnus of the academy (Mr. Bartoszek) $3 million renovation of the baseball field
45. Baylor U. Bob and Laura Beauchamp chairman of BMC Software and a member of Baylor's Board of Regents (Mr. Beauchamp); parents of Baylor alumni $2.5 million creation of the Beauchamp Addiction Recovery Center and support for an endowment to pay for its staff and operations
45. New School Jarl and Pamela Mohn chief executive of NPR and former chief executive of E! Entertainment Television (Mr. Mohn); parents of a 2014 alumna $2.5 million creation of an endowed professorship in natural sciences and mathematics
47. East Carolina U. Foundation Anonymous East Carolina U. alumnus $2.21 million stadium renovation and support for scholarships for athletes
48. Hiram College Dean Scarborough and his wife, Janice Bini retired chief executive of the Avery Dennison Corporation, which manufactures packaging materials, and a 1977 Hiram graduate (Mr. Scarborough) $2.1 million support for a new program to supply faculty and staff members and students with Apple mobile technology
49. Southern Methodist U. Cary Maguire chairman and chief executive of Maguire Oil Company; chairman of Components of America and Staco Systems; and a trustee emeritus of the university $2 million endowment to support the directorship of the university's Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility
49. U. of Maryland School of Nursing Bedford Falls Foundation (William and Joanne Conway) co-founder and co-chief executive of the Carlyle Group, a private-equity firm (Mr. Conway) $2 million scholarship support for financially needy students in advanced-degree programs and expansion of the family nurse-practitioner program at the Universities at Shady Grove
49. U. of Oregon Keith and Julie Thomson retired vice president and Oregon site manager for Intel Corporation, and a former chair of Oregon Foundation's Board of Trustees (Mr. Thomson); elementary-school teacher and University of Oregon alumna (Ms. Thomson) $2 million endowment to support a director's position in the College of Education's Hedco Clinic, which provides low-cost educational services to families
52. Northwest Iowa Community College John Bilsland a retired Iowa high-school Spanish teacher who died in 2016 $1.7 million (bequest) contribution to the capital campaign
53. High Point U. David and Christine Cottrell founders of the data-collection company RetailData, and parents of a High Point graduate $1.5 million support for an outdoor amphitheater
54. U. of Scranton William W. Scranton and his wife, Mary Chamberlain Scranton former governor of Pennsylvania (Mr. Scranton); Mr. Scranton died in 2013 and Ms. Scranton died in 2015 $1.4 million (bequest) enhancement of the student experience, creation of an endowment for the foreign-language collection in Weinberg Library, and support for arts and music education
55. Mercyhurst U. Betsy Hirt Vorsheck 1977 Mercyhurst graduate and the daughter of the late F.W. Hirt, former chief executive of Erie Insurance and former Mercyhurst trustee, and Audrey Sitter Hirt, a 1949 Mercyhurst alumna $1.25-million gift support for developing and expanding academic programs in risk control, and insurance underwriting and claims in the College of Business, and in cybersecurity, cyberintelligence, and data analytics in the insurance industry in the Ridge College of Intelligence Studies and Applied Sciences
56. Friends U. Gail and Tim Buchanan chief executive of Legend Senior Living, in Wichita, Kan. (Mr. Buchanan); 1980 Friends music-education graduate (Ms. Buchanan) $1.2 million $1 million to support a chair of the fine-arts department; $200,000 for fine-arts scholarships
57. Bob Jones U. Anonymous parents of recent Bob Jones graduates $1 million unrestricted gift
57. Earlham College Anonymous n/a $1 million fund for student scholarships
57. Millsaps College Richard Blount and his wife, Martha ophthalmologist in Jackson, Miss., and an alumnus from the 1950s (Mr. Blount) $1 million (pledge) unrestricted gift
57. Oregon State U. at Cascades Tykeson Family Foundation (Donald Tykeson) founder of BendBroadband, a cable television, Internet, and phone company in Bend, Ore., that was sold to Telephone and Data Systems for $261 million in 2014 (Tykeson family) $1 million (pledge) support for capital campaign to expand the campus, in Bend, Ore.
57. Reinhardt U. Austin and Bea Flint a retired radiologist in Canton, Ga., and a member of Reinhardt's Board of Trustees (Mr. Flint); a former faculty member who taught English at Reinhardt from 1978 to 1990 (Ms. Flint) $1 million support for a new theater building and an endowment for scholarships for music students; a concert hall in the existing Falany Performing Arts Center will be renamed Flint Hall
57. Santa Barbara City College Nadel Foundation (Julie Nadel) widow of Jack Nadel, who founded and led the marketing and promotional-products company Jack Nadel International, in Los Angeles; he died in 2016 at age 92 $1 million (pledge) establishment of an incubator and event space in the lobby of the Business and Communications building; in recognition, the business school will be renamed the Jack and Julie Nadel School of Business and Entrepreneurship
57. Southern Illinois U. at Carbondale Ralph Becker media investor and alumnus of Southern Illinois University at Carbondale $1 million renovation and expansion of the boat house and pavilion, which will be named the Ralph E. Becker Pavilion
57. Spelman College Leonard and Louise Riggio founder and chairman of Barnes & Noble (Mr. Riggio) $1 million half to support a scholars program named for the donors; half to support design and construction of an arts center
57. U. of California at Los Angeles Lowell Milken and his family co-founder of Knowledge Universe, an early-childhood education company headquartered in Singapore; chairman of Heron International, a property-development company in London; recipient of a law degree from UCLA (Mr. Milken) $1 million endowment of a scholarship fund for student athletes
57. U. of Miami Marcus Lemonis host of the television shows The Profit and The Partner on CNBC, and chief executive of the recreational-vehicle sales company Camping World Holdings $1 million (challenge pledge) enhancement of programs in academics and career development for student athletes
57. U. of Michigan at Ann Arbor Andrea Fischer Newman and her husband, Frank Newman a senior vice president at Delta Air Lines, a member of Michigan's Board of Regents, and a 1979 alumna (Ms. Newman); retired chief executive of the Stow Company, a manufacturer of home storage and organizational systems (Mr. Newman) $1 million $200,000 for a need-based scholarship fund for theater students; $300,000 to upgrade a studio in the Walgreen Drama Center; $500,000 to support the donors' endowment for theater showcase, through which graduating students are brought to audition in Chicago, Los Angeles, and New York
57. U. of North Alabama College of Education and Human Sciences Joe McKinney and Chester McKinney Jr., in honor of their late mother, Connie D. McKinney executives at Southern Fastening Systems, a supplier of fasteners, tools, and other construction products (Messrs. McKinney); Auburn University extension agent and 1950 graduate of what was then known as Florence State Teachers College, now the University of North Alabama (Ms. McKinney) $1 million support for the human environmental-sciences department, which will be named for Connie McKinney
57. U. of Southern California Rob Malcolm former president of global marketing, sales, and innovation at Diageo, an alcoholic-beverages company, now retired, who earned a bachelor's degree and an M.B.A. at Southern Cal in the 1970s $1 million establishment of an endowment for the World Bachelor in Business program
57. U. of West Florida Bob Kimball a professor of marketing and economics at the University of West Florida $1 million 40 annual $2,000 merit scholarships for undergraduate students
57. U. of Wisconsin at Stevens Point Gerald and Helen Stephens founder and retired chairman of the RLI Corporation, a property-insurance firm (Mr. Stephens); parents of Douglas Stephens, a 1991 Stevens Point graduate who studied wildlife management and died unexpectedly less than a year after graduating $1 million creation and endowment of the Gerald and Helen Stephens Professorship in Wildlife

Note: Gifts and biographical information were compiled from news articles, news releases, and The Chronicle of Philanthropy's database of charitable gifts. Only gifts of $1 million or more in a given year are included in the database. 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