SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — The co-founder of a private equity
firm has donated $75 million to the University of Notre Dame to be used to
bolster its efforts to become one of the nation’s top research schools.
The donation from alumnus John W. “Jay” Jordan, also a board
of trustee member, is the largest in the school’s history, Notre Dame said
The gift surpassed a $50 million bequest that Joan B. Kroc,
the billionaire widow of McDonald’s Corp. founder Ray Kroc, left the university
in her will in 2003 for the peace studies institute she helped to create.
Jordan’s donation will be used for science and technology
with a view to developing innovative intellectual property with commercial
potential, the school said.
“This will be a tremendous boost to make us a pre-eminent
research university in the area of technology and have an impact on society,”
university president the Rev. John Jenkins told the Associated Press.
Jenkins said Provost Thomas Burish will meet with the
university’s deans to determine how to best use the money, but that it will be
pointed toward recruiting top faculty and students, providing laboratory
supplies and equipment, supporting seed grants and creating prototypes.
Jordan’s latest gift brings the total the 1969 graduate has
donated to the university to $150 million. The co-founder of the Jordan Co.,
which is based in New York and has offices in Chicago and Shanghai, donated $40
million to the school in 2005 that has not yet been designated for use and
remains in the university’s endowment fund.
He also gave $30 million to help build the Jordan Hall of
Science, which cost $70 million to build, and donated to funding for the Jordan
Auditorium in the Mendoza College of Business and to a scholars program.
Notre Dame announced in 2008 that it would spend an
additional $40 million in each of the next two years on research to try to
compete with the nation’s best universities.
It noted in a 2003 strategic plan that while many of its
doctoral programs had shown steady progress in national rankings, few were
considered among the “very best in the nation.”
“Notre Dame has always been known and will continue to
emphasize undergraduate education. It’s at the heart of what we do,” Jenkins
said. “But research is an area we’ve grown in and want to grow in.”
Jordan said in a statement released by the university that
it is important for the country to maintain leadership in state-of-the-art
“It is not only critical for socio-economic reasons, but
national security, as well. I have always thought that you cannot invest too
much in technology. Hopefully this gift to Notre Dame will elevate our
leadership role in these areas and will have a global impact,” he said.
The gift was announced May 2 during the board of trustees’
spring meeting. Jordan has served on the board since 1993.
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