Early 1998 Gifts
Early 1998 Gifts
Analysis of the year's biggest philanthropists.
Feb. 22 1998 3:30 AM

Early 1998 Gifts

1. ALFRED E. MANN--$200 million in two gifts: a) $100 million to the UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA to establish an institute to turn raw scientific discoveries into useful products and b) $100 million for a similar institute at the UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, LOS ANGELES. Details apparently are still under negotitation with the university. The USC gift alone will make the 72-year-old Mann, the son of an immigrant grocer, one of the top 10 donors to higher education in the United States. Mann did his undergraduate and graduate work at UCLA. "Most of the Nobel Prizes go to scientists in this country, yet all the products are coming out of Japan and Germany," he said when explaining the mission of the Alfred E. Mann Institute for Biomedical Engineering. "I want to create a bridge between academia and the industry." Mann said that after providing for his six children ("I don't believe in creating poor little rich kids"), he decided to use his fortune to "create some real value for society," adding, "What else am I going to do with it?" Mann trained as a physicist and amassed his wealth in various high-tech ventures. His companies have provided the U.S. Army with guidance equipment for antitank missiles and solar cells to power America's first space probe.

2. ART WILLIAMS--$70 million to LIBERTY UNIVERSITY (Lynchburg, Va.), to erase its debt and free its founder, the Rev. Jerry Falwell, to resume his role as an outspoken emissary for conservative Christians. "The university is back to where it was, and I'm back on the road again, " Falwell said before boarding a plane for another round of preaching and talk-show appearances. "It's like being let out of prison, to get back to what I do best." Williams settled the university's debt in September 1997 but asked that his identity as the benefactor be kept secret. He agreed to announce the gift after Falwell convinced him that the publicity would provide momentum for a separate campaign to raise $100 million and double enrollment by 2005. Williams, who sold his insurance company in 1989, began providing money for construction projects at Liberty after visiting the campus in 1985.

3. WALTER and LEONORE ANNENBERG--$10 million to INDEPENDENCE MALL in Philadelphia.

3. ANONYMOUS--$10-million challenge gift to the CENTRAL INSTITUTE FOR THE DEAF in St. Louis to kick off its expansion and renovation plan. To claim the gift, the institute must raise another $15 million in the next five years. Institute officials say they believe that the gift--from an out-of-town donor--is one of the largest given to a nonprofit organization in St. Louis.

5. KENNETH G. LANGONE--$6.5 million to NEW YORK UNIVERSITY from the founder of the Manhattan investment firm Invemed Associates and board member of the Home Depot. The money was given to the university's part-time, evening MBA program. Langone landed a job in the investment department of the Equitable Life Assurance Society in 1957, was urged by his new employer to get an MBA, and was able to through NYU's night program. He told the New York Times that "attending NYU at night was an incredibly valuable experience, and I am eternally grateful for it." The money will be used to establish a special services center for part-time students and faculty conferences, and to endow a Langone professorship, a chair devoted to teaching part-time students. The evening school, which has 2,162 students, will be renamed for Langone. The gift will also be used to finance academic, professional, and personal advising for part-time students and to establish the Langone Curriculum Innovation Fund to develop practical and creative teaching ideas and techniques.

6. CARL and RUTH SHAPIRO--$5.5 million to the MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS in Boston, one of the largest gifts given to a Boston cultural institution. Combined with $1 million given in 1995 to endow the MFA's curator of prints, drawings, and photographs, the gift makes the Shapiros the largest contributors to the MFA's $125-million fund-raising campaign, now at 93 percent of its goal. The gift will be used to renovate the museum's upper rotunda and colonnade, to restore the John Singer Sargent murals on the rotunda ceiling, and for outreach and education.

7. ANONYMOUS ALUMNUS--$5 million to JOHNS HOPKINS UNIVERSITY (Md.) for an addition to the school of public health.

8. JOE and SUE PATERNO--$3.5 million to PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY for new teaching positions, scholarships, a new interfaith spiritual center, and a sports hall of fame. "I have made more money than I should make for doing what I like to do," the football coach said. "It just seemed like I ought to give it back." The Paternos have given more than $4 million to Penn State to date. Sue Paterno, who met her husband while tutoring his football players in the library, said they had a reason for giving the money now. "We needed a win!" she said, to great applause. The Nittany Lions finished 9-3 this season and lost their two final games. Paterno simply smiled.

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