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WATCH: Western Michigan University lands largest private donation to a public university ever

Posted at 10:44 AM, Jun 08, 2021

KALAMAZOO, Mich. — Western Michigan University just landed the largest private gift to a public university ever.

The school confirms it was gifted $550 million by an anonymous alumni.

The money will go towards Western Michigan University, WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine and Bronco Athletics.

"I am honored to tell you that we have received a profoundly generous gift from graduates of Western Michigan University," said Western Michigan University President Dr. Edward Montgomery.

It's the largest donation to have ever been received by a public university, and Western Michigan University was the lucky recipient.

"Our benefactors have infested a total of $550 million in our students, medical treatments and breakthroughs and intercollegiate athletics," said Dr. Montgomery.

"It is my great honor to accept this incredibly generous gift empowering futures. In my line of businesses, I see big checks very often, but this is the biggest check I have ever seen," said WMU Foundation Board of Director's President Lynn Chen-Zhang.

The donation is being called the "empowering futures gift". It will be given to the university's foundation over 10 years.

$200 million will go towards need-based financial aid, faculty hiring and other university initiatives. $300 million will go to WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine and $50 million will go towards Bronco athletics.

"The empowering futures gift is going to help students most importantly and allow them to go to medical school and not have to worry about the financial pressure. We anticipate that we will be able to create enough scholarship dollars that every single one of our students will receive something," said WMU Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine's Dean Dr. Paula Turmuhlen.

President Montgomery said the core of the gift promotes diversity, equity and inclusion to level the playing field by expanding accesss to a college education.

Eliminating systemic racism and social injustice has been a big part of Bronco athletics this past year. Now, they can grow those efforts even more with the donation.

"With the support of this gift, we can greatly advance the critically important efforts and Broncos are absolutely going to get the opportunity of a lifetime to be a Bronco, to come and play the sport they love," said Western Michigan University Director of Athletics Kathy Beauregard.

The previous record for largest donation was $500 million. Western Michigan University's previous largest donation was $100 million, which was used to establish its school of medicine.

Three schools shared the previous record of $500 million for the largest donation to a public university: Oregon Health & Science University, the University of California at San Francisco and the University of Oregon.