The Purdue University College of Agriculture has received an anonymous estate gift valued at $65 million in today’s dollars, the largest private donation in the university's history.
The announcement was made February 16th by Purdue President Mitch Daniels at the President’s Council Annual Appreciation Dinner in Naples, Florida attended by more than 400 people.
"This gift is a tremendous vote of confidence in Purdue and our College of Agriculture," Daniels said. "Their generosity will enhance Purdue Agriculture’s ability to educate future generations of food and agricultural leaders and scientists, make the discoveries that improve and save lives, and ensure those discoveries make it into the hands of the people who need them."
Jay Akridge, Glenn W. Sample Dean of Agriculture, said "This is truly a transformational gift, which will dramatically enhance our ability to make a difference for the people of Indiana, our country and the world."
Akridge said the gift is unrestricted providing the college flexibility in how it will use the money.
"Their wishes are that this future funding be used in the best possible way to build on Purdue Agriculture's tradition of excellence and to ensure that we enhance that excellence in all we do going forward," he said.
"This donor will make an incredible investment in Purdue Agriculture because they believe in our ability, both today and in the future, to deliver on a research, education and Extension mission that addresses our most pressing real-world problems with real-world solutions," Akridge said.
Lisa Calvert, Purdue vice president for development, said the gift was a vote of confidence in the leadership of the college and the university. "The donors wished to make clear their support for Mitch Daniels in his new role as president," she said. “Since Mitch Daniels was announced as the incoming president last June, there has been an increase in donor involvement resulting in new energy in philanthropy.”
During the dinner program in Naples Calvert spoke about the importance of philanthropy in accomplishing the university’s missions and goals.
“The increased flow of philanthropy is a game changer for Purdue,” she said. “It is our defining moment in higher education history, one to be seized. It will require boldness, courage and the willingness to embrace change. All of our aspirations for this great university are rising exponentially. Our state, nation and world now more than ever need the transfer and delivery of the brilliance and innovation of our researchers, scientists, faculty, students and alumni.
“Scholarship and philanthropy can change a life,” she said. “In combination they have the potential to change the world. At this moment, no university is better positioned to accomplish this than Purdue.”
Also at the Naples event, Calvert that $22 million in gifts and university matching funds have resulted in 13 new, endowed professorships as part of the Faculty Excellence Challenge Match launched last year. The professorships are vital to recruiting and retaining top faculty.