As Louisiana lawmakers consider dramatic cuts to higher education, LSU received news that a donor, whom the institution would not identify, would pledge $40 million to benefit the university.
This marks the largest planned gift ever made to LSU, according to the university’s news release. Half will go to academics and half will go to athletics.
“When realized, it will ensure that our future engineering students and student athletes will have the resources they need for even greater educational success. Planned giving is essential for the future of LSU, providing a solid foundation of future support for growth and innovation,” LSU President and Chancellor F. King Alexander said.
“The donor has chosen to remain anonymous. The gift is a planned gift so it won’t be realized until after the donor passes,” LSU spokesman Ernie Ballard wrote in an email.
The promise was made by an alumnus and supporter of LSU athletics. The Tiger Athletic Foundation, or TAF, would receive $20 million with the intent of benefiting student-athlete scholarships and facilities. The other $20 million would go to the LSU Foundation in support of student scholarships in the LSU College of Engineering’s Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering.
Richard Perry, president and CEO of TAF, said in a prepared statement: “The donor expressed the motivation behind this record-setting planned gift included the donor’s profound appreciation for the educational experience in the College of Engineering and the role that experience played in the donor’s success in life, along with a love of Tiger Athletics, through which the donor remained connected to LSU and was a source of many of the donor’s favorite memories of time spent with family and friends.”
“Once realized, it will make a transformational difference for our students studying mechanical and industrial engineering,” said Rick Koubek, Bert S. Turner Chair and dean of LSU’s College of Engineering.
The Jindal administration is looking at again reducing state support to public colleges and universities by up to $300 million. Campus leaders are warning that the budget cuts, which cumulatively could rise to $1 billion in lost funds since Gov. Bobby Jindal took office, could force layoffs and damage educational programs.