Anonymous benefactor donates $50 million to University of Kansas’ business school

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LAWRENCE — An anonymous donor gave $50 million to the business school at the University of Kansas to support undergraduate students and faculty research, officials said Tuesday.

It represented the largest gift received by the School of Business located on the university’s main campus in Lawrence. The funding has been earmarked to support students through study abroad, entrepreneurship and career-focused programs as well as initiatives tied to diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging.

In addition, the endowment to the business school would be dedicated to improving scholarly output through support of faculty professorships and fellowships.

“While a gift of this size is certainly newsworthy, it’s what this gift will enable that is truly worth noting,” said Dan Martin, president of the KU Endowment. “The impact of such a sizable gift will have a ripple effect that extends well beyond this current moment in time.”

Paige Fields, dean of the School of Business, said the $50 million commitment was a transformative gift in terms of academic research and student success.

“It will allow our school to further invest in our current mission-driven initiatives, to pursue aspirational objectives and to identify future opportunities, ensuring we continue delivering relevant, innovative business education,” she said.

KU said the donor was inspired by the business school’s accomplishments over time and the more recent strategic planning process initiated in 2017. Internal changes included launching student certificate programs, updating undergraduate curriculum and admissions, creating a master’s degree in business analytics, broadening research incentives for tenure-track faculty and finishing spaces in Capital Federal Hall.

The Capitol Federal Foundation of Topeka committed $20 million in 2012 toward construction of the business school’s current building on the Lawrence campus. At that time, the foundation’s donation was the largest in the KU business school’s history.

In June, the University of Kansas Cancer Center accepted a $100 million donation from the Sunderland Foundation and secured $43 million in federal funding to build a state-of-the-art facility to advance research and treatment of cancer on the university’s campus in Kansas City, Kansas.

Kansas Reflector is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. Kansas Reflector maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Sherman Smith for questions: info@kansasreflector.com. Follow Kansas Reflector on Facebook and Twitter.

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