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WMU receives $550 million donation, largest ever for public university

Before this donation, WMU’s largest monetary gift was $100 million. That was gifted in 2011 to help create the Stryker M.D. School of Medicine.

KALAMAZOO, Mich — Western Michigan University announced a $550 million donation — the largest donation in history to a public university — during a press conference Tuesday afternoon. 

WMU President Edward Montgomery said the record funding is coming from anonymous WMU alumni. The funding will flow into the university throughout a period of 10 years.

"We call it the 'Empowering Futures Gift,'" said Dr. Montgomery during the news conference. "This is at the core of our donor's belief that education empowers people and communities to create a bright future for all."

The funds will be divided into the following streams:

  • $300 million for Western Michigan’s Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine
  • $200 million for need-based financial aid faculty hiring and other university initiatives
  • $50 million for the university’s Bronco athletic programs  

Previously, the largest donation to a public university was $500 million; that record was shared by three schools — Oregon Health & Science University, the University of California at San Francisco and the University of Oregon — according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

"This will fund the scholarships, advanced medical education and research, support faculty expertise, increase athletic competitiveness and make possible numerous other initiatives which will help us holistically develop students into graduates with purpose," added Dr. Montgomery.

Before this donation, WMU’s largest monetary gift was $100 million. That was gifted in 2011 to help create the Stryker M.D. School of Medicine.

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