Historic gifts received by the State of Iowa, the University of Oklahoma and the University of Massachusetts


This week brought news that three public research universities had received private donations of historic proportions. These major gifts are just the latest of this month which has seen record philanthropy in higher education circles.

University of Massachusetts

The University of Massachusetts at Amherst announced Thursday that it has received $ 21.5 million from the Elaine Nicpon Marieb Charitable Foundation. This is the biggest cash giveaway in the history of UMass, Amherst, and in addition to the gifts Marieb had already given of more than $ 2 million for scholarships, according to a university statement. campus-wide studies.

In recognition of this donation, the university’s College of Nursing will be renamed Elaine Marieb College of Nursing in honor of former UMass Nursing student Amherst and bestselling textbook author. Elaine Nicpon Marieb’s textbooks on anatomy and physiology were so popular that in 2016 Time magazine ranked her seventh on its list of “100 Most Read Women in College Classes.”

The donation will help support the university’s nursing engineering center and will also provide funds for scholarships, an endowed faculty position, and mentorship and research initiatives designed to increase access, equity and excellence in nursing education.

“We are deeply grateful for this extraordinary donation from the Elaine Nicpon Marieb Charitable Foundation,” UMass Chancellor Amherst Kumble Subbaswamy said in the university announcement. “This donation is an endorsement of the vital role our College of Nursing plays in preparing nurses for leadership in health care. This comes at a time when our society is facing unprecedented challenges – challenges that we strive to overcome through innovation, learning and discovery inspired by one of our most successful graduates. distinguished and most appreciated, Dr. Marieb herself.

Marieb’s donation crowns record time for the University of Massachusetts system, which earlier this month announced a $ 50 million donation from Robert J and Donna Manning, the largest donation in history of the system.

Iowa State University

Iowa State University received a $ 42 million pledge this week from former CG “Turk” and Joyce A. McEwen Therkildsen. The donation will go towards the construction of a new university center for the Iowa State Department of Industrial Systems Engineering and Manufacturing. On Wednesday, the Iowa Board of Directors’ Properties and Facilities Committee recommended approval of the building to be named “Therkildsen Industrial Engineering” in honor of the Therkildsens.

“Iowa State alumni know that our educational excellence creates a solid foundation for future achievement,” said Wendy Wintersteen, president of Iowa State University. “This transformational investment by two amazing alumni, Turk and Joyce Therkildsen, helps solidify Iowa State University’s importance in engineering and prepare our students to succeed in an increasingly complex and technology-driven world. We are grateful for their generosity.

The Therkildsens, who met as undergraduates at Iowa State, made previous donations to Iowa State which established the CG “Turk” and Joyce A. Therkildsen Chair in Industrial Systems Engineering and Manufacturing in 2016 and the CG “Turk” and Joyce A. Therkildsen Chair in Industrial Systems Engineering and Manufacturing in 2018.

Turk and Joyce are, respectively, semi-retired CEOs and President and Corporate Secretary of Industrial Hard Chrome, Ltd., based in Geneva, Illinois.

University of Oklahoma

Also last week, the University of Oklahoma (OU) announced that it had received a historic gift from the family of Homer L. Dodge, former OU faculty member, chair of the physics department, director of school of engineering and dean of its graduate college.

The donation, the amount of which has not been disclosed, will be split equally between the OU College of Arts and Sciences and the Homer L. Dodge Department of Physics and Astronomy and will largely be used for funding. scholarships and research. Two research chairs will also be funded.

In appreciation of the gift, which officials called “transformational,” the OU’s board of regents approved the name change from the College of Arts and Sciences to Dodge Family College of Arts and Sciences.

“This extraordinary gift from the Dodge family is momentous, not only for its size, but for the impact that will change the lives of our students for generations to come,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. family Dodge has been a mainstay in our university history for over a century, beginning with legendary physics professor Homer Dodge. This generous donation solidifies their family’s legacy, underscoring their deep commitment to inspire scientists aspiring to capture the forefront of research discoveries. We are deeply grateful for their unprecedented support and faith in our dynamic vision for a bright future. “


Historically, the biggest donations to colleges and universities have gone to private institutions that claim a very successful alumni base. In addition, former students of private institutions are much more likely to donate than former students of public institutions. But in recent years, large donations to public institutions have increased, led by mega-donations from philanthropists like Mackenzie Scott, Mike Bloomberg and others who have increasingly focused on universities, community colleges. and regional and state institutions. which educate a large number of middle and working class students.

In addition to their size, last week’s major donations to public universities stood out in two other ways: each came from alumni or close associates of the recipient universities, and each was dedicated exclusively to supporting the core academic programs of these institutions.