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 Feb. 16 by Purdue President Mitch Daniels at the President’s Council Annual Appreciation Dinner in Naples, Fla., attended by a near record of more than 400 people.

Monique Long

Monique Long, a graduate student in the College of Agriculture’s Department of Agronomy, is working on comparison of sorghum as an efficient bioenergy crop. Long’s graduate curriculum is through Purdue’s Ecological Sciences and Engineering interdisciplinary graduate program.

“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, the 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 at the time of the announcement, said the gift was a vote of confidence in the leadership of the college and the University.

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."