University gets 2 gifts totaling $21 million

Business school, arts center will get College Park money

April 23, 1999|By Michael Hill | Michael Hill,SUN STAFF

The University of Maryland, College Park had the most successful fund-raising day in its history yesterday, announcing two gifts totaling $21 million to benefit a new performing arts center and expand its business school.

Clarice Smith's $15 million donation matches the two largest donations in the history of the school, including one from her husband, Robert H. Smith, given last year. The family's total of more than $30 million makes them the biggest donors to any public university in Maryland.

Also announced was a $6 million gift from Leo Van Munching Jr., who has previously given the school $7.5 million.

The gifts were to be announced at a dinner last night that was part of ceremonies preceding today's inauguration of Clayton D. "Dan" Mote as the UMCP president.

"I am very thrilled that they wanted to do this as a part of the celebration of my inauguration," said Mote, who became president in September.

"It's a wonderful gesture," said William W. Destler, interim vice president for university advancement. "I think they basically wanted to express their confidence in Dan."

The $15 million from Smith goes to support the performing arts center, under construction. University officials will ask the Board of Regents to name the center after her. The $15 million given by Smith's husband, Robert -- a 1950 UMCP graduate who as a real estate developer built Crystal City in Alexandria, Va. -- got the business school named after him.

The Smiths are well-known art collectors and supporters. Clarice Smith is an artist and teacher, and Robert Smith serves as trustee and president of the National Gallery of Art.

Mote said that the university is committed to raising $3 million in capital funds and a $20 million endowment for the $110 million performing arts center scheduled to open next year. Smith's $15 million gift will go toward the endowment which will provide income to operate the center.

"It's a very important leadership gift for the endowment," said Mote. "That's not the type of money you raise in $100,000 gifts. But with this donation, we can now go about raising the rest of it."

Van Munching, also a 1950 graduate, owned the sole American importer of Heineken beer until he sold it to the Dutch beer company in 1993. That year he gave UMCP $5 million. That helped build Van Munching Hall, which houses the Robert H. Smith School of Business. This new $6 million gift will go toward the $18 million cost of building an addition that would double the size of the building.

"This is really necessary because that school has grown so much that it is now spread out in buildings all over campus," Mote said.

Goals for business school

Destler said the business school is ranked 22nd in the country by Business Week magazine. "Our goal is to make that school one of the top 15," he said. "That's going to be tough to do, but a gift like this will help a great deal."

Van Munching also gave the school $2.5 million in 1997 to establish an undergraduate career center that is named after him.

Mote went to UMCP from the University of California at Berkeley, where he had made his reputation as a fund-raiser. These are the first major gifts announced during his tenure. "It's a matter of helping people do what they really want to do," Mote said. "That's what fund raising in all about."

Mote said the rising reputation of the school helps. "People do not want to give to a failing enterprise," he said.

The gifts are part of the campus' $350 million fund-raising campaign, which has brought in more than $200 million. Mote said that the campaign will probably bring in more than $400 million by its conclusion in 2002.

Seeking more donors

"Making the goal is not the point of a campaign," Mote said. "You have to do that. The real point is to bring in new donors to the university. We are virtually at ground zero now, with only about 5 percent of our alumni contributing. So we have to build a broader base of alumni and friends who get great satisfaction out of helping the university.

"We're going to do that," he said.

Other top gifts to the University of Maryland, College Park: $15 million, including a bequest, from A. James Clark, 1994.

$9 million, anonymous, 1997.

$8 million from Jeong Kim, 1998.

$7 million from Michael Dingman, 1989.

$7 million, anonymous, 1997.

$3 million from William E. Mayer, 1989.

Pub Date: 4/23/99

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