Graduates of Western Michigan University have given the school a donation that’s thought to be the largest gift to a public university in U.S. history. The anonymous $550 million donation will be split between the university, the Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine and Bronco Athletics.
At a press event today at WMU’s Heritage Hall that was also streamed online, President Edward Montgomery said the donation, known as the Empowering Futures Gift, would be delivered to the WMU Foundation over the next 10 years. He said at the money would benefit Western and its students at many levels.
“It’ll fund scholarships, advance 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 who will find meaningful careers and live lives well lived,” Montgomery said.
The amount attracted national press coverage including from The Washington Post.
Western says $300 million will go to the Homer Stryker M-D School of Medicine, another $200 million will go to the University and Bronco Athletics will get $50 million.
Western Board of Trustees Chair Lynn Chen-Zhang said the gift will make the university more affordable to students from underrepresented groups.
“Because of this extraordinary philanthropy, we will have so many fellow, countless fellow Broncos who will go on to their journey to fulfill their career aspirations,” she said.
Dean of the medical school Paula Termuhlen said many medical students face financial hardships, which can stop them from pursuing their education. She said the Empowering Futures Gift will change that.
“The Empowering Futures Gift is going to help students most importantly, and allow them to go to medical school and not have to worry about the financial pressure. We anticipate that we will be able to create enough scholarship dollars that every single one of our students will receive something,” Termuhlen said.