Posted November 1st, 1997

Gifts to Universities: To Be or Not to Be?

Two gifts to educational institutions have made the headlines recently. Both could benefit students for generations, but one gift may spend years tied up in litigation.

The University of Mississippi received $60 million, the largest endowment in the school’s history, to establish an international studies institute. The gift will be funded by the interest from a privately held trust, the Bancroft Charitable and Educational Fund. Joseph C. Bancroft, founder of the trust, was a Mississippi businessman who left much of his $200 million estate to charitable organizations.

The University of Alabama is fighting to keep a $10 million pledge from the estate of the late Hugh Culverhouse, an alumnus worth $381 million. Culverhouse pledged the money through a trust agreement on the condition that the university rename its business school for him, which it did. Now, Culverhouse’s widow and son are suing the school to take back the gift, claiming that the U of A did not move quickly enough in renaming the business school. However, Mrs. Culverhouse admits that she is bitter because her husband allegedly tricked her into signing away the rights to most of his assets. She told the court, “I’d like to pull him out of the grave and shoot him with every bullet I could get.” The university states that it was unable to rename the school because of Mrs. Culverhouse’s legal battle for control over her husband’s estate.

Source: The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN, September 19, 1997

Ted Turner pledges $1 billion for UN foundation

Ted Turner, the founder of CNN and TBS, pledged $1 billion to create a foundation for United Nations causes. The media mogul said that the gift would be used to help “the poorest people in the world, the people who need it most.”

Turner’s gift will be somewhat restricted in that the foundation will not provide money for administrative costs of the United Nations. Instead, the foundation will focus on helping fight diseases, assisting refugees, and removing land mines.

Source: The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, TN, September 19, 1997

Over Two-Thirds of Largest Gifts to Higher Education in Form of Non-Cash Assets

Thirty of the 41 largest private gifts to higher education since 1967 were made since 1990.

Twenty-eight of the 41 largest private gifts to higher education since 1967 consisted of assets other than cash.

Source: The Chronicle of Higher Education, August 29, 1997

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