HBE Corp. founder Fred Kummer and his wife June donated $300 million to Missouri University of Science & Technology, the largest gift in its history, to support a new school of innovation and entrepreneurship and also provide scholarships.
“This gift is transformative,” Missouri S&T Chancellor Mo Dehghani said in a statement Monday. It will allow the university 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.”
Kummer, 91, is a 1955 civil engineering graduate of Missouri S&T, which was then known as the Missouri School of Mines & Metallurgy. He founded HBE, a firm that designs and builds hospitals and health-care facilities, in 1960. He later started the Adam’s Mark Hotels and Resorts chain, which he sold in 2008.
Located about 100 miles southwest of St. Louis in the city of Rolla, Missouri S&T is part of the larger University of Missouri system. With an enrollment of just over 8,000 students, the school hasn’t typically garnered as much attention as the state’s flagship campus in Columbia. The new school will expand the university’s influence in Rolla, where it is already one of the largest public employers.
There have been several large gifts to universities in the past year. MacKenzie Scott announced in July that she gave eight-figure donations to six historically black colleges. Billionaire Eli Broad gave $100 million to support the Broad Center’s move to the Yale School of Management. The charitable foundation of David and Simon Reuben donated about $100 million to Oxford University’s newest college in June. Real-estate developer John Arrillaga committed $55 million to Stanford University to ensure some of its medical students graduate without debt.
— With assistance by Janet Lorin
(Adds background on HBE in third paragraph.)