Running a college or university is not an inexpensive endeavor. You may be thinking, “aren’t many colleges and universities supposed to be non-profit?” Even as such, the cost of advertising, recruitment, salaries, and day-to-day operations can be an astronomical expense. How do these places of higher learning stay out of the red? It is only possible through the generous donations of alumni and members of the community. Many alumni happily give a small gift yearly as a way showing their appreciation for their alma mater. However, some donors go above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to giving. TheBestSchools.org has highlighted the 50 Most Generous Alumni Donors to American Colleges & Universities.
What do Emory University and Coca-Cola have in common? They both would not be where they are today were it not for Robert Woodruff. Woodruff attended Emory for only one semester before leading Coke to record success; but this was apparently enough to make a lasting impression on him. In 1979 he and his brother, George, donated $105 million to Emory University. At the time this was the largest single donation to a college or university ever made. Over the course of his life, Woodruff donated in excess of $230 million which accounted for roughly 50 percent of his total net worth.
It is safe to say that John W. Kluge cared greatly for Columbia University. He gave generously to his ivy league alma mater throughout his life (to the tune of almost $100 million). Despite this generosity, It wasn’t until his death in 2010 that he became the institution’s greatest benefactor. Kluge’s estate donated $400 million to Columbia university. An impressive gift under any circumstances, Kluge’s donation is even more note-worthy in that it was to be used exclusively for student aid. Kluge’s own words best sum up his motivation for such a generous gift:
“I want to help ensure that Columbia will always be a place where the best and the brightest young people can come to develop their intellect, make something of their own lives and give something back to our communities, our country and our world.”
These two men are just some examples of the generosity that helps keep the American higher education system thriving. TheBestSchools.org is happy to present The 50 Most Generous Alumni Donors to American Colleges & Universities. Will your name be on a list such as this one day?