Anonymous donor gives $10M to University IT

by Conrad Wilson

Thanks to an anonymous donor, the University’s Institute of Technology is $10 million richer.

The bequest – the college’s second-largest gift ever – will fund an estimated 15 to 25 graduate fellowships each year, paying­­ for students’ tuition and living expenses.

“It’s big,” said Mos Kaveh, IT associate dean. “It’s a major commitment to our graduate education.”

In addition to this gift, the University had a $1 million increase in donations for fiscal 2006, to $181 million, said Martha Douglas, University Foundation communications director.

The IT donation
The recent $10 million IT donation is secured for the college in the donor’s will, said Rhonda Zurn, IT communications director.

No information about the donor has been released.

It is not uncommon for a donor to remain anonymous, Kaveh said, but the identity could be released postmortem.

The gift is a bequest to the college, but information about which departments will be affected has not been released, she said.

University officials said the bequest will allow the college to be more competitive in recruiting graduate students.

A fellowship is more attractive than a teaching grant because it allows students to work less, Kaveh said.

“Through these fellowships, we will be able to maintain our stellar reputation and continue to attract the best and brightest graduate students,” said IT Dean Steven Crouch in a statement released Monday.

Physics graduate student Rob Compton, said he received a fellowship his first year that allowed him to work less.

Graduate students work about 20 hours per week, whereas Compton and other fellowship recipients work about 10 hours per week.

Donors traditinally determine gift use, Kaveh said.

“We express the need we have strategically,” he said. “We let potential donors know that we have priorities in fundraising.”

IT hopes to plan a new physics building and raise additional money for undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships in coming years.

“(The gift) really goes to show that people believe in the direction we’re going,” Kaveh said.

Giving at the University
Giving to the University has increased, Douglas said.

In 2005, the College of Liberal Arts raised more than $13 million – the most of any college, according to the foundation’s annual report. Information Technology ($11 million) and the Carlson School of Management ($6 million) were the other top recipients.