Baylor Announces Largest Gift in University's History

March 4, 2010

Estate Gift Will Benefit Medical Research in College of Arts and Sciences, School of Social Work, Other Programs

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Baylor University announced today what will be the largest gift in the university's history, an estate provision estimated to be valued in the range of $200 million to benefit medical research in the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Social Work and other university programs.

The gift comes as the university hosts its annual Old Main Society Luncheon, honoring alumni and friends who affirm their commitment to Baylor University through estate gifts. The luncheon will be held Friday (March 5) at 11:30 a.m. in the Blume Conference Center of the Cashion Academic Center on the Baylor campus.

The gift is the second-largest gift made to a Texas college or university and ranks among the top 20 private gifts made to higher education in the United States according to the most recent compilation of data reported by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The anonymous gift is being made by a Baylor graduate whose family has a history of providing gifts to the university supporting programs that are both innovative and have high potential to significantly advance the field of knowledge and experience in diseases, disorders, care, treatment and other issues associated with aging.

"This truly is a remarkable day for Baylor University. The foresight and originality of one of our own graduates will now provide future Baylor students and faculty the opportunity to conduct innovative research and bring that knowledge into the classroom," Interim President David E. Garland said. "This gift advances the mission of Baylor by empowering us to improve our future graduates' service to the nation's aging population. We extend our deepest thanks to the donor and applaud the donor's understanding of the need for leaders who take a holistic approach in addressing issues associated with aging."

As a provision of the donor's estate, a foundation will be established at the time of the donor's death. The foundation will support several university efforts in continuing the donor's consistent and generous support.

"Aside from representing a remarkable and unprecedented level of generosity, this act of extraordinary kindness, sacrifice and selflessness reminds us of the power of giving to help transform a university and create a sustainable and prosperous future for its programs," said President-elect Ken Starr, who will take office as the 14th president of Baylor on June 1. "Receiving a planned gift of this magnitude now, during a time of historic economic instability, is especially significant as it demonstrates profound confidence in Baylor University and a shared commitment to achieving the university's goals far into the future."

"This gift is a great example of a donor who truly understands how philanthropy can change the way society addresses major issues," said Dennis Prescott, Baylor's vice president for development. "This family has provided faithful and significant support to Baylor University through the years, and this most recent philanthropic gesture will ensure that many generations beyond our own reap its benefits."

The interdisciplinary nature of the gift enables Baylor to continue addressing the physical, psychological, social, emotional and spiritual needs and strengths of the aging in a truly holistic approach. The College of Arts and Sciences' strong programs in pre-health, psychology, chemistry, biochemistry, neuroscience and other related areas will be greatly enhanced by this gift, said the college's dean.

"This gift will provide enormous support for significant areas of research in advancing the field of knowledge on the aging process," Lee Nordt said. "A substantial endowment helps vault Baylor University to top-tier status in this field by providing resources for world-class faculty and scholars; for recruitment of the most talented undergraduate and graduate students; and for exploring the latest research initiatives related to aging.

"By design, this gift will lead to collaborative efforts among departments and across school boundaries, enabling Baylor to become a national leader in the topical field of aging, one of the most important areas of our time."

The gift also benefits programs in the university's newest school, the School of Social Work, which prepares social workers to serve in a diversity of public and private settings, with a special emphasis on working effectively with issues of faith and spirituality and with congregations and faith-based organizations.

"The idea that someone looks at this school that is four years old and believes in the mission and direction enough to give a gift like this is an amazing vote of confidence in our program," Diana Garland, dean of the school, said. "It will enhance our ability to grow and thrive, and to educate generation after generation of social workers who will help to transform the most difficult places in the world.

"This gift enables us to provide leadership in caring for older adults in ways that honor the meaning and purpose in their lives all the way to the end of life, caring for them in ways that honor them as people who have given and continue to give."

Contact: Jill Scoggins, Assistant Vice President for Media Communications, (254) 710-1964

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