Donors Pledge $336 Million To Two Schools

Two universities on opposite ends of the United States were recipients of their largest-ever contributions, together totaling almost a half-billion dollars.

The University of Maryland will receive $219.486 million from the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation. And, the Shidler College of Business at the University of Hawai’t at Manoa announced that Jay H. Shidler has donated $117 million in cash and real estate ground leases. Shidler’s total giving to the university now tops $228 million and the latest contribution could bring the institution billions more.

Shidler’s donation is the final installment of the $111-million gift he announced in 2014 and is expected to be a lasting source of capital for the business school and a potential investment model for public educational institutions. The donation will fuel the pace of improvements and expansion facilitated by his earlier gifts and provide a steady funding that could be used to make the college tuition-free within 40 years — “if there is a need or desire to do so at some future time,” according to an announcement by the university.

The donation of land underlying 11 significant office buildings in commercial business districts of major mainland cities, including Seattle, Denver and Chicago, is projected to produce “highly certain, management-free cash flow that historically increases faster than inflation.”

The university is prohibited from selling any of the donated leases before the end of their 99-year terms, which is estimated will generate a minimum of $2.1 billion of contractual cash flow for the college. At the end of the ground lease terms, the college will receive full ownership of the related office buildings, which together with the land will be worth an estimated $5.1 billion. The gift of land and buildings is expected to yield a minimum of $7.2 billion during the life of the current leases.

A 1968 alum, Shidler has given a total $228 million to the university, the largest donation in the university’s 110-year history and the second-largest known gift to any U.S. business school at a public university. His initial gift was $25 million in 2006, prompting the university to change the name of its business school. He made several additional gifts during the next few years, including $69 million in 2014.

The Clark Foundation’s gift is the largest in the history of the University of Maryland (UMD) and among the largest to a public research institution in the 21st century. “Building Together: An Investment for Maryland” will help to expand access and affordability through the Clark Opportunity Transfer Scholarship Program, supporting transfer students from the state’s community colleges to pursue their engineering education at UMD.

The Clark Challenge for Maryland Promise is a campus-wide scholarship matching program that engages the philanthropic community, aiming to generate a $100-million fund to support students with financial need.

The campaign will support faculty working in interdisciplinary fields such as data analytics, neuroscience, and cybersecurity. Five Clark Leadership Chairs with shared appointments in colleges across campus will conduct research on emerging issues. The foundation also will establish eight Clark Distinguished Chairs, faculty positions that directly address the most critical research areas set forth by the 2020 Strategic Plan for the Clark School.