Alumnus gives $1.4 million to UB Donation is largest in school's history

September 06, 1996|By David Folkenflik | David Folkenflik,SUN STAFF

A Baltimore boy who grew up to be an employment vTC entrepreneur has provided the University of Baltimore, his alma mater, with the largest gift in its 72-year history.

William Thumel Jr., who graduated from UB with a degree in business in 1969, said he decided to donate $1.4 million to honor his father -- a working man with a love of education who did not have the opportunity to attend college.

"We think this is pretty terrific news, darn right," said H. Mebane Turner, president of UB since the year Thumel graduated.

The university will name the building on the corner of Charles Street and Mount Royal Avenue that houses the Merrick School of Business for William Thumel Sr. The money will be used to set up an endowment to pay for undergraduate and graduate student scholarships.

Born in 1946, the younger Thumel worked his way through UB as a temporary employee for the Kelly Girl (now Kelly Services) Co. After graduating in 1969, Thumel worked in Atlanta for Kelly and served for nearly four years in the U.S. Coast Guard.

In January 1974, Thumel set up Abacus Temporary Services, in Norfolk, Va., which, after a series of purchases and a merger proposal that was released last week, is poised to become the nation's fourth-largest temporary employment company.

William Thumel Sr. and his family had owned a series of shops in and near the Charles Street corridor, including a dining room, a hat shop and a coffee house, William Thumel Jr. said. Thumel Sr. graduated from Baltimore Polytechnic Institute in 1933, at the height of the Depression, and could not afford to continue his education.

"The loyalty is to Baltimore. It's a great town," Thumel said in a telephone interview from Virginia Beach, Va. "My dad passed away three years ago. It's nice to recognize him and his old stomping grounds."

But Thumel also said he wanted to mark the real-life schooling he received at UB.

"With a cement campus like it is, it's not a party school," Thumel said.

He added, "You get an education. It's where you worked and went to school and worked at the same time."

The gift pushes UB beyond its drive goal of $4.2 million to $4.9 million in pledges, and the school now hopes to raise $5 million, Turner said.

The university, at the northern edge of downtown, is an upper-division school, meaning that it has only undergraduates in their junior and senior years, along with some graduate students.

Pub Date: 9/06/96

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