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October 16, 2015

$55-Million Gonzaga Bequest Includes Valuable Seattle Land

Gonzaga University announced a $55-million gift Thursday from a Seattle real-estate investor who died last year, The Spokesman-Review and KXLY radio of Spokane report. The bequest from Myrtle Woldson, who passed away at age 104, could become larger because it includes three Seattle properties collectively assessed at $21.1 million and expected to grow in value.

Ms. Woldson did not attend Gonzaga but cultivated longtime ties with the Spokane campus. The university said $30 million of the bequest will go toward designing and building a performing-arts center to be named for Ms. Woldson, who was a musician. The remaining $25 million will fund an endowment for scholarships.

With the bequest, Gonzaga now owns a parking lot, an adjacent parking garage, and a stake in a retail and residential complex, all near Seattle's waterfront. The properties' worth is likely to rise with the upcoming demolition of the Alaskan Way Viaduct, which will open up views of Elliott Bay.