Following a surprise campus-wide invitation to a “campus event” sent out on Monday, Feb. 5, President Lori White announced on Feb. 7 that DePauw University has received $200 million in donations from various donors in support of the Bold and Gold Strategic Plan. Of these gifts, $150 million were gifted by one anonymous donor, making DePauw history as the largest single donation to the university.

The Announcement 

Image of Dr. White. Credit: Ahnaf Labib.

The event was kicked off by Board of Trustees Chair Doug Smith ‘85, who described the program as “a transformative day in DePauw’s history.” Smith then introduced President White, who announced the $200 million donation. 

“Three words to describe what I am about to share with you are honored, humbled, and historic,” Dr. White stated before the announcement. She expressed her gratitude to the donors that contributed to the gift, before providing further details about these donations. 

According to Dr. White, $150 million were gifted by an anonymous donor, while the remaining $50 million were donated by various donors. During a media session following the program, White explained that the names of the donors who contributed to the $50 million gift will be shared soon. 

Image of Dr. Bridget Gourley. Credit: Ahnaf Labib.

“The gifts I have just announced will bolster initiatives across the institution and across all four pillars of our strategic plan, supporting faculty, scholarships and financial aid, student experiential life and athletics. And three quarters of the funds raised will support the university’s endowment,” Dr. White said. 

Vice President of Academic Affairs Dave Berque, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) Bridget Gourley, Dean of the Creative School Marcus Hayes, and DePauw Student Government President Paige Burgess also spoke at the program, voicing their gratitude for and excitement regarding the historic donation. They specified that these funds will go towards supporting various programs and institutions at DePauw, including the Creative School, the CLAS, and the Center for Diversity and Inclusion. 

Vice President Berque emphasized that “$64 million of the funds announced today were designated by donors to be used for the Creative School.”

Image of Dr. Marcus Hayes. Credit: Ahnaf Labib.

The Media Session

Following the program, Dr. White and Chairman Smith met with representatives of WGRE and The DePauw to answer questions about the announcement. Vice President of Finance and Administration Andrea Young were also in attendance and explained how DePauw’s endowment works. 

“Endowment gifts are gifts to support the institution forever,” Vice President 

Young elaborated. “Donors give gifts to the endowment to ensure that whatever they donate towards . . . [will] fund that initiative forever. . . The way we keep that endowment forever is that we only spend on an annual basis some of the interest that we generated on that initial gift.” 

Image of Dr. Lori White celebrating as confetti fills the air. Credit: Ahnaf Labib

Dr. White explained that the “overwhelming majority of the funds [DePauw has] been gifted will go toward the endowment, which will sustain the university for generations to come.” She acknowledged that “students of today won’t feel all of the immediate effects of the $200 million,” and highlighted that “generations of DePauw students will benefit from this incredible gift.” 

Chairman Smith noted that the anonymous donor had been discussing a donation for over a year and that the process itself had been in progress for “years.”

When asked about the impact that this donation will have on tuition cost, Dr. White explained, “The more resources we receive from folks that are so generous to invest in the university, that will help us continue to support all of the programs that students and alumni tell us are so valuable to their experience.” 

Dr. White and Chairman Smith stated that more information about the details of donation allocation will be shared at a later date. To learn more about the donation, read DePauw University’s statement.