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October 01, 2015

$45-Million Gift to Drexel U., and $20 Million to U. of Washington

Drexel University's School of Public Health has been renamed for Dana Dornsife and her husband, industrialist David Dornsife, in recognition of a $45 million donation, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The gift, announced Wednesday, will support local projects in Philadelphia neighborhoods and broaden its international work in urban health.

Mr. Dornsife is chairman of Herrick Corporation, a steel-fabricating company. Ms. Dornsife, a 1983 Drexel graduate, co-founded Axiom Design, a lighting and interior-design firm. The couple donated $200 million in 2011 to the University of Southern California, Mr. Dornsife's alma mater, and have now given $58 million to Drexel. The new gift arose from a 2013 tour they took with university President John A. Fry of a well-drilling project the couple funded in Ethiopia.

Steve Ballmer, the former chief executive of Microsoft, and his wife, Connie Ballmer, are giving $20 million to the University of Washington School of Social Work, writes the Puget Sound Business Journal. The contribution will be split between financial aid for graduate students and school programs.

The university said the gift will help social-work students graduate without debt loads that force many to leave the relatively low-paying field. About three-quarters of the school's graduate students remain in Washington State to work after completing their education. The Ballmers have now donated $32 million to the institution.

Correction: An earlier version of this post said that the Dornsifes' 2011 gift went to the University of California. The donation went to the University of Southern California.