Despite Recession, College Gift Money Still Flowing


Most colleges and universities across the country benefit from the generosity of donors whether they be alumni, corporations or other supporting patrons. Public and private schools alike welcome gifts which are often used to fund an academic chair, provide scholarships for students or expand or introduce a program through a new building or wing.

These days are certainly trying times, with schools finding it difficult to stay in the black as a deep recession takes its toll. Many students have had to drop out of school because funding his dried up while others taking on part-time jobs in a bid to stay in school.

Timely Gifts, Gratefully Received

Saint Louis UniversityThankfully, the donation pool hasn’t dried up completely allowing schools to continue with their plans or to give students a chance to complete their studies. Over the past few months several schools have been recipients of large gifts including the following colleges and universities, great and small:

Pfeiffer University — With its main campus in Misenheimer, NC, Pfeiffer isn’t very well known beyond the Carolinas, but the Christian school of 1400 students recently welcomed a one million dollar gift from the estate of veteran banker William White. According to Pfeiffer President Chuck Ambrose, “This is such a transformational gift. It is a way for Pfeiffer to better manage through the economic storm and provides a sense of financial confidence that allows us to continue to improve our academic quality.”

Saint Louis University — A $35 million expansion of SLU’s School of Law is getting some important help from the Anheuser-Busch Foundation which is making a $3 million gift available to SLU, its largest ever to that school.  The Jesuit university (pictured, DuBourg Hall) serves more than 12,000 students and plans to begin groundbreaking once all of the funding has been raised. The university believes that it will reach that target within the next 18-24 months.

Washington and Lee University — To keep top notch instructors, schools need to pay a competitive salary. Thanks to a $2.5 million gift from Mac and Linda Crawford of Nashville, Tenn., the university will be able to fund salaries for the dean and faculty of the Williams School of Commerce, Economics and Politics. The gift was made in honor of Larry Peppers, dean of the Williams School.

University of Hawaii at Hilo — Hawaii’s public university’s Hilo campus recently received its largest gift ever, an anonymous donation of $1.5 million. One million dollars has been earmarked for scholarships while the remaining funds can be used at the school’s discretion. The school confirms that the funds are from the same anonymous donor who has contributed more than $93 million to at least 19 colleges and universities thus far. SayCampusLife reported about this in Mysterious Donor Contributes Tens of Millions Of Donations last month.

Chapman University — An Orange County, California school received a $25 million donation which will cover half the costs of building a 1,300-seat performing arts center on campus. An anonymous donor who has only be identified as an Orange County resident made the challenge donation which is contingent upon the school raising the remaining funds separately. The university’s president doesn’t expect any problem coming up with the remaining funds.

Clearly, these donations are timely gifts, monies that can be used to help schools in ways that might not have been possible otherwise.

Adv. — If you have already found the college you want to attend, get prepared to apply to that school in November. Otherwise do an online college search to find the schools of interest to you and print out a Summary Aid Map to help you plan your financial aid strategy.


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