WMU News

Anonymous awards send WMU gift total soaring

Feb. 1, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- An anonymous $2.5 million gift played a major role in sending Western Michigan University gift totals for the current fiscal year into near record territory, according to a report presented to the WMU Board of Trustees at its Jan. 28 meeting.

The $2.5 million gift and an anonymous gift of $1.8 million from a second donor were part of a more than $4.2 million in cash and deferred gifts received by the WMU Foundation during the months of November and December. When combined with non-cash gifts and gifts to the Paper Technology Foundation, the year-to-date total of gifts received by WMU since the July 1 start of the fiscal year is nearly $11 million.

"These generous gifts, given quietly by two wonderful friends of the University, will have a long-term impact on the University's ability to provide both superb physical facilities and new educational opportunities that will be enjoyed by our students for many years to come," said Bud Bender, associate vice president for development, who presented the report to the board. "These gifts, along with others recently received, are putting us well on the way to a record gift year."

The $2.5 million gift, which will come to the University over a three-year period, is the largest cash gift ever made to the University by a living individual. The gift will be used to establish two endowments--a $2 million fund to support study abroad opportunities for WMU students and a $500,000 fund to support the work of WMU's Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnic Relations.

The $1.8 million gift will be used for an indoor practice facility that is being planned for the University's athletic programs. The University is seeking $8 million in private funds for the $21.5 million facility, which it plans to build between Oakland Drive and Stadium Drive.

A number of other major gifts were noted on the two-month report presented to trustees. They included:

An estate gift of $1,368,000 from another anonymous donor that will be split into two endowments of $684,000 each. One will be used to fund a scholarship in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. A second endowment will be called the Endowed Fund for International Student Services and will support the University's work with its international students.

A pledge of $250,000 from Robert J. Bobb of Chicago also will be used to support building of the new indoor practice facility for athletics. Bobb is a 1969 alumnus of WMU and a member of the WMU Foundation Board of Directors.

A final $100,000 distribution from the estate of Eunice E. Kraft, a longtime faculty member in languages. The gift will provide a $50,000 student loan fund in her name as well as $50,000 in funds that will become part of the President's General Endowment Fund. Kraft, who joined the WMU faculty in 1920 and taught courses in Latin and mythology for 42 years, died Feb. 28, 1999, in Sturgis, Mich., at the age of 100.

Media contact: Cheryl Roland, 616 387-8400, cheryl.roland@wmich.edu

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