News and analysis
November 21, 2016

Gifts Roundup: Colorado State University Lands $53 Million for Engineering

John Eisele/Colorado State University

Walter Scott Jr., seen here on the sidelines at a Colorado State football game earlier this year, donated $53 million to his alma mater to endow scholarships, fellowships, and faculty posts.

A roundup of notable gifts compiled by The Chronicle:

Colorado State University

Walter Scott Jr. gave $53.3 million to support the university’s College of Engineering. The money will endow scholarships for up to 80 engineering undergraduates, fellowships for up to 30 graduate students, and four professorships.

University officials plan to rename the college for the donor, who graduated from Colorado State in 1953 with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering.

Mr. Scott is the former chief executive of contracting giant Peter Kiewit Sons’ and currently serves as the company’s chairman emeritus. He donated $10 million to the university in 2011 for a bioengineering building.

Hollins University

James McDonnell III, and his wife, Elizabeth McDonnell, pledged $20 million through their JSM Charitable Trust for the university’s endowment.

Mr. McDonnell worked as an aerodynamics engineer at McDonnell Aircraft, the firm his father founded in 1939, which later became McDonnell Douglas. He was a director of the corporation until it merged with Boeing in 1997.

Ms. McDonnell graduated from Hollins in 1962 and has served on the university’s Board of Trustees since 2008.

Purdue University

Charles and Nancy Davidson donated $20 million to the School of Chemical Engineering, which will be named for the donors.

Mr. Davidson earned a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Purdue in 1972 and worked in the oil and gas industry for 30 years. He is currently a partner at private-equity firm Quantum Energy Partners.

Virginia Polytechnic Institute

Kevin Crofton gave $15 million, $14 million of which will support the Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering, which will be named for the donor. The remaining $1 million will go toward the university’s Division of Student Affairs.

Mr. Crofton leads SPTS Technologies, a maker of processing equipment for semiconductors and microelectronic devices, that is headquartered in Wales. He earned a bachelor’s degree in aerospace and ocean engineering from Virginia Tech in 1982.

University of Denver

Laura Barton committed $10 million to establish the Institute for Philanthropy and Social Enterprise. The institute will work to promote traditional and new forms of philanthropy and partnerships among academic, nonprofit, private, and government entities to tackle social issues.

Ms. Barton was married to the late Peter Barton, who held top executive positions with cable-TV companies TCI and Liberty Media.

Longwood University

Retail mogul Macon Brock and his wife, Joan, gave $5.9 million to establish the Brock Endowment for Transformational Learning. The gift will create new programs and courses that highlight the duties and complexities of citizenship.

Mr. Brock co-founded Dollar Tree Stores. Ms. Brock, a 1964 Longwood graduate, served as treasurer of the company for 11 years.

Gustavus Adolphus College

The college’s president, Rebecca Bergman, and her husband, neurosurgeon Thomas Bergman, pledged $4 million.

The funds will be divided equally among endowments in four areas: student-faculty research; equipment acquisition and repair in science departments; a professorship in neuroscience; and the Gustavus Fund, which provides money for scholarships and financial aid, instruction, academic support and research, student services, institutional support, and public-service programs.

A chemical engineer by training, Ms. Bergman was an executive at Medtronic, a medical-technology company, before becoming president of the college in 2014.

To learn about other big donations, see our database of gifts of $1 million or more, which is updated throughout the week.

Send an email to Maria Di Mento.