$300M donation sets record for Missouri higher ed

Research, scholarship, and innovation and entrepreneurship programs will share in a record-setting $300 million donation

Research, scholarship, and innovation and entrepreneurship programs will share in a record-setting $300 million donation made to the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

The gift, by St. Louis businessman and Missouri S&T graduate Fred Kummer and his wife June, is the largest in the history of Missouri higher education.

The university plans to create a new school of innovation and entrepreneurship, expand its research into new areas, increase scholarships and fellowships and bolster the regional economy.

“This gift is transformative for S&T, the Rolla region and our state,” Mo Dehghani, Missouri S&T chancellor, said in a statement. “We expect to be able to dramatically increase the size of our student body, recruit outstanding new faculty, establish powerful new centers of research, and engage with the community in new and exciting ways,” Dehghani said.

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Kummer, 91, is the founder and chairman of St. Louis-based HBE Corp., a design-build firm for health care.

The Kummers’ gift, via The Kummer Institute Foundation, will support several new initiatives at Missouri S&T:

  • An independent, university-affiliated research and development entity will house four new research centers focused on infrastructure, advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence and autonomous systems, and environmental and resource sustainability. It will partner with industry, public and private research foundations, and governmental agencies to stimulate business innovation.
  • The Kummer School of Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Economic Development will offer business, innovation and entrepreneurship programs at the bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. levels.
  • Scholarships and fellowships for high-achieving undergraduate and graduate students/
  • Expansion of Missouri S&T’s online degree programs.
  • New research faculty positions.
  • Expansion and renovation of existing buildings, and construction of new buildings and labs;
  • Greater community outreach through new initiatives in student-community engagement.
  • A shuttle service between campus and St. Louis.

The various initiatives are expected to generate $250 million in gross domestic product to the Missouri economy during its first five years of operation and more than $2 billion over 25 years, according to an economic impact analysis conducted by the University of Missouri-Columbia.

“As universities, we have an obligation to spill ourselves over into our communities,” Dehghani said. “This investment will create jobs, new technology and research advances that will energize the economy of our region for decades to come.”

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Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick
Matt Zalaznick is a life-long journalist. Prior to writing for District Administration he worked in daily news all over the country, from the NYC suburbs to the Rocky Mountains, Silicon Valley and the U.S. Virgin Islands. He's also in a band.

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