UM has received other large donations in recent years

September 13, 2014|Liz Bowie | The Baltimore Sun

The $31 million donation to the University of Maryland, College Park on Friday from a computer tech millionaire was the largest donation in the history of the university, but there have been others nearly as big.

The university has received three $30 million gifts from three individuals in recent years: Robert E. Fischell, a physicist and inventor, gave money to establish the department of bioengineering; A. James Clark, a construction company owner, gave to the school of engineering; and Robert H. Smith, a builder and developer, gave to the business school.

The university also received $10 million from Edward St. John to name the Edward St. John Learning and Teaching Center.

But those donations are dwarfed by the gifts to the Johns Hopkins University. The cumulative sum of more than $1 billion that media magnate and former New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has given to Hopkins is believed to be the greatest amount given by an individual to any university.

In January 2013, Bloomberg gave $350 million, the largest single gift to Hopkins. The bulk of the money will go to fund interdisciplinary work focused on a set of complex global issues.

The second largest gift to Hopkins was $150 million, given by Sidney Kimmel to the university and the hospital for cancer research and patient care. There also have been at least three gifts of $100 million each.

The largest single gift from an individual to a college or university was the $600 million given in 2001 to the California Institute of Technology from Gordon and Betty Moore and a foundation in their name, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Small colleges, such as Goucher College in Towson, generally have received much smaller donations, according to the Chronicle. Goucher received its largest donation in 2000, $6 million from Charlotte Killmon Wright Brown, who graduated in 1922.

The gift announced Friday at College Park came from Brendan Iribe, who spent one year at the university in the late 1990s before launching his own company with two fellow students. The money will be used to build a new computer science building with a focus on virtual reality.

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