News and analysis
November 02, 2015

Gifts Roundup: Homebuilders, Pizza Makers, and PepsiCo Executive Give Millions

Carlos Osorio, AP Images

The Ilitch family, who founded Little Caesars, donated $40 million in property and cash to Wayne State University for a new home for its business school, to be renamed for Mike Ilitch.

A roundup of notable gifts compiled by The Chronicle:

Wayne State University

The Ilitch family, who founded the Little Caesars pizzeria chain, gave $40 million in property and cash to build a new home in downtown Detroit for the university’s business school. Of the total, $35 million will support construction costs and $5 million will go toward endowment.

The business school is being renamed the Mike Ilitch School of Business. Mr. Ilitch, a former minor-league baseball player in the 1950s, and his wife, Marian, started the restaurant chain in 1959. Mr. Ilitch owns the Detroit Tigers baseball team and Red Wings, a professional hockey team.

The family has been involved in the revival of downtown Detroit in recent years.

Beaumont Health System

Dominic and Frances Moceri, founders of the luxury homebuilder, Moceri Development, have donated $10 million to Beaumont Hospital-Troy for a family learning center and a new intensive-care unit.

Duke University

Karl and Mary Ellen von der Heyden gave nearly $8.4 million to support arts programs and graduate students at the Duke Global Health Institute.

Of the total, the couple is directing about $7.4 million toward programs and events in the new arts center. The remaining $1 million will pay for graduate fellowships at the health institute.

Mr. von der Heyden, a retired vice chairman of PepsiCo, graduated from Duke in 1962. He served on the university’s Board of Trustees from 1995 to 2007. One of the couple’s two children is a Duke graduate.

Summa Foundation

David and Ann Brennan gave $6 million to support Summa Health, a group of hospitals and health-care centers.

Mr. Brennan co-founded the Brenlin Group, a company with holdings in steel and other manufacturing.

University of the Ozarks

Helen McElree, a biology professor, pledged $2 million to support special faculty projects through the Dr. Helen McElree Faculty Enrichment Endowment, which she founded last year.

Ms. McElree is a graduate of the university and was a professor of biology at Emporia State University from 1961 to 1992. She has served on the university’s Board of Trustees since the early 1990s.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Dasha Zhukova, a Russian-American businesswoman and the wife of Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, gave $1 million to establish the Distinguished Visiting Artist Program at the university.

Ms. Zhukova is editor-in-chief of Garage Magazine, an art and fashion publication, and she founded Garage Museum for Contemporary Art in Moscow.

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.