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Anonymous Donor Gives $360 M to RPI

March 12, 2001

TROY, N.Y. (AP) _ An anonymous donor has pledged a no-strings-attached $360 million to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute _ the biggest donation to a university in U.S. history.

RPI President Shirley Ann Jackson said the gift will help the university more than double its research initiatives and its graduate enrollment in the next five years by creating world-class programs in biotechnology and information technology.

``The remarkable generosity of this donor will enable Rensselaer to move boldly into new arenas that are vital for society,″ Jackson said.

RPI, a private university with about 4,500 undergraduates and 1,800 graduate students, was ranked 49th among national universities in 2001 by U.S. News & World Report. Its undergraduate engineering program was ranked 17th in the nation.

The donor had pledged $130 million to RPI in December, but has replaced that pledge with a gift nearly triple in size, the university announced Monday. There are no restrictions on how the $360 million can be used.

RPI spokeswoman Nancy Connell would not divulge whether the donor, who insisted on anonymity, is an individual or a company. Details of how the money will be provided _ whether in a lump sum or over a period of years _ were not released.

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, which keeps track of gifts to colleges and universities, the previous record donation was an estimated $350 million over a 20-year period to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2000.

Emory University received $295 million in stock from a donor in 1996, and the University of Colorado system was pledged $250 million in stock earlier this year.

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