Honorable Mentions211 other known gifts of more than $1 million in 1997

Honorable Mentions211 other known gifts of more than $1 million in 1997

Analysis of the year's biggest philanthropists.
Feb. 22 1998 2:51 AM

Honorable Mentions211 other known gifts of more than $1 million in 1997


1. VINCENT A. STABILE--$9 million to the PRATT INSTITUTE in Brooklyn, N.Y., for a new dormitory for first-year students in art, design, and architecture. Stabile is a 1940 graduate of the institute's School of Engineering. He recently sold Industrial Retaining Ring, the company he founded, and is now focusing on philanthropic activities. The gift is the largest in Pratt's history.

1. DAVID W. and JEAN McLEAN WALLACE--A $9-million commitment to YALE UNIVERSITY (Conn.) from the chairman and CEO of Lone Star Industries (a cement producer based in Stamford, Conn.) and his wife to renovate Branford College, his undergraduate residence. David Wallace is a 1948 graduate of Yale's School of Engineering. He is also president and trustee of the Robert R. Young Foundation and a trustee of the Greenwich Hospital. Branford offers living, study, recreational, and dining space to approximately 300 Yale undergraduates.

3. LANDON T. CLAY--$8.5 million to HARVARD UNIVERSITY (Mass.) for its participation in the Magellan Project for astronomical research. "It became apparent, after a somewhat slow start, that the prospects for the Magellan Project were greatly improved by building a second identical telescope directly following the first, thereby utilizing the teams and facilities already assembled," said Clay, who graduated from Harvard in 1950. He took no astronomy courses there, but said that "as an 11-year-old boy, I first put on glasses and was thrilled to see the stars of Orion's Belt as points of light not a blur." Clay is chairman of the board of the Boston mutual-fund firm Eaton Vance Corp. and a member of the Smithsonian Institution's national board. This latest gift adds to earlier ones, also to Harvard ($3.2 million to the department of mathematics and $2.4 million to establish a third dean's fund for research and recruitment in the sciences).

4. JOHN and ROSEMARY GALBRAITH--John Galbraith has agreed to forgive some $8.3 million in loans and loan guarantees made to the FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL MUSEUM in St. Petersburg. The chairman emeritus of the museum's board and its largest benefactor, John Galbraith has said that he hoped the museum would make St. Petersburg a cultural hub. Maintaining that the city should be the primary focus because the facility is for its citizens, he has asked that his and his wife's names be moved from the top to the bottom of a plaque in the museum's lobby. John Galbraith is a retired administrator for the Templeton Funds mutual-funds group. The couple also has given $3.5 million to Eckerd College, where a marine-science laboratory named for them was dedicated in 1994.

5. ELEANOR BOYER--$8 million, the after-tax winnings of an $11.8-million ticket in the New Jersey state lottery, to the CHURCH OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION (Somerville, N.J.) and to the TOWN OF SOMERVILLE itself. Boyer, a 72-year old retired buyer for American Cyanamid, said of her winnings, "No new car, no vacation. My life is no different. I've given it up to God. I live in His presence and do His will, and I did that from the start."

5. MYER and DOROTHY KRIPKE--Total 1997 contributions:$8 million. $7 million from this rabbi and his wife to JEWISH THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY (N.Y.) for restoration of the tower; $1 million to the RECONSTRUCTIONIST RABBINICAL COLLEGE (Pa.) to fund scholarships. Myer and Dorothy Kripke met while both were students at the seminary in the 1930s. They married and moved to Omaha, Neb., in 1946. The Kripkes became friendly with investor Warren Buffett when his wife read a children's book, Let's Talk About God, written by Dorothy Kripke, who urged her husband to invest with Buffett. Myer Kripke finally agreed in 1966, despite his concern that he had so little money to invest that he would look silly. Over the years, Myer Kripke continued to minister to his congregation and Dorothy to write books and raise their three children. When Buffett closed his limited partnership in 1969, "suddenly we found ourselves wealthy people," the couple told the Omaha World Herald. They have continued to live modestly.

5. LEE and GERALDINE MARTIN--$8 million to the MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY from their Martin Foundation to bolster endowed funding for graduate students in environmental issues. Ten environmental fellowships--eight new and two existing--will be called the Martin Family Society of Graduate Fellowships in Sustainability. At least 10 other graduate students will be named each year to participate in the society but will receive their fellowship funding from other sources. The Martin Foundation, based in Elkhart, Ind., also funded the Martin Center for Engineering Design at MIT. Lee Martin, who received a mechanical-engineering degree from MIT in 1942, is chairman of NIBCO Inc., a leading manufacturer of pipe fittings, valves, and plumbing fixtures. The company was founded in 1904 by Martin's grandfather.

5. CHARLES and ELIZABETH PERKINS PROTHRO--Total 1997 contributions:$8.0 million. The gifts include $7 million to SOUTHERN METHODIST UNIVERSITY (Dallas) to fund the Charles and Elizabeth Prothro Scholarships at the Perkins School of Theology; renovate the Perkins Chapel; and provide a collection of Bibles, valued at $1.5 million, to the school's library. The gifts continue a long-standing family tradition of support begun by the late Joe and Lois Perkins, who endowed the school in the early 1940s. Also: $1 million to WOFFORD COLLEGE (S.C.) to create an endowed chair in the department of religion. The Perkins and Prothro families have been involved in oil, ranching, and investments for many years.

5. JEAN D. SHEHAN--A 948-acre farm valued at more than $8 million in Talbot County, Md., to the NATIONAL AUDUBON SOCIETY (Washington, D.C.), which will use it as a wildlife sanctuary and an ecological-education center. Shehan lives in Coral Gables, Fla., with her husband, William M. Shehan. She will continue to use a house on the property, which she inherited from her father--the late William DuPont Jr.--a Delaware banker, in 1965.

10. ROBERT A. and RENEE BELFER--$7.5 million to the Kennedy School of Government at HARVARD UNIVERSITY for the Center for Science and International Affairs. The gift will re-endow and refurbish the two-decades-old center. Robert Belfer is a 1958 graduate of Harvard Law School, and Renee Belfer is a Vassar alumna. The Belfers have made a substantial gift to the Kennedy School in the past and also have supported the law school and the faculty of arts and sciences.