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November 13, 2014

Ballmers Donate $50-Million to University of Oregon

The University of Oregon announced a $50-million gift Wednesday from former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and his wife, Connie, an alumna and trustee, The Oregonian and The Register-Guard report. The bulk of the donation will fund scholarships for low-income students and faculty hires to buttress the university's drive to build a world-leading center for the prevention of childhood obesity,

The Ballmer gift is the university's first major donation since it launched the public phase of a $2-billion fundraising campaign last month. Half of it will be used establish a fund to generate income for PathwayOregon, a financial-aid program for low-income state residents. Twenty-million dollars will go to the anti-obesity program—one of 10 donor-supported "clusters of excellence" the university hopes to establish—and $5-million will back efforts to promote the university's academic brand.

Mr. Ballmer, who stepped down as Microsoft's boss in February, is also financing an effort at his alma mater, Harvard University, to expand the computer-science faculty by 50 percent as enrollment in the field surges, The Boston Globe writes. Harvard declined to disclose the amount of the gift, which will be formally announced at a campus event Thursday.