$2 million gift to MU will go toward sustainability research

Tuesday, April 23, 2013 | 2:10 p.m. CDT; updated 8:19 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, April 24, 2013

*Correction: Enterprise Holdings was founded in 1957. An earlier version of this article listed the wrong year.

COLUMBIA — The Great Room in the Reynolds Alumni Center was packed with people — many of whom were dressed in black and gold representing MU. MU Chancellor Brady Deaton proclaimed today as a "green day" for the university.

MU received an unrestricted gift of $2 million from Enterprise Holdings, the world's largest car rental company, and its philanthropic arm, the Enterprise Holdings Foundation, at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

With the gift, Deaton will create an endowment for sustainability that will go toward research, education, faculty support and areas that support the goal of a greener world.

"This gift shows how Enterprise recognizes what Mizzou can do — that's the fundamental core of the Mizzou Advantage," Deaton said. "We are bringing interdisciplinary work together to look at world problems in ways no one else can, due to our unique assets."

No specific plans have yet been made as to where the money will go, but Deaton said that the money will support Mizzou Advantage, a program that has staff, faculty, outside partners and students collaborate to solve problems within the realms of food production, media, animal and human medicine and sustainable energy.

Mizzou Advantage addresses energy issues through various means, including the MU Research Reactor, biomass power plant, innovative research in biofuels, biomass and energy efficiency, the College of Engineering, and education programs in nuclear and other kinds of energy.

Based in St. Louis, Enterprise Holdings owns the Enterprise Rent-A-Car, National Car Rental and Alamo Rent A Car brands. The company operates a fleet of vehicles through a global network of more than 8,200 airports and locations, making it the largest fleet in the world.

*Owned by the Taylor family since 1957, Enterprise Holdings strives to work for the next generation. The company does this through its efforts in sustainability.

The company has joined with the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center, the largest plant research center in the world. Together they created the Enterprise Rent-A-Car Institute for Renewable Fuels, which works to create the next generation of alternative fuel technology from environmentally sound plant and algal sources. 

Enterprise has also joined with the Arbor Day Foundation and the United States Forest Service to plant 1 million trees throughout the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. This has already resulted in nearly 8 million trees planted in areas suffering damage from wildfires and other natural disasters, according to Enterprise's website.

MU has made its mark at Enterprise. The company employs more than 600 MU alumni. Some alums include the company's senior executives including President and Chief Officer Pam Nicholson, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer William Snyder, and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Patrick Farrell. 

Carolyn Kindle, vice president and executive director of the Enterprise Holdings Foundation, said MU provides the company with more employees than any other higher education institution in the world. The company recognizes that this gift will affect more people than just those at MU.

"We view our participation in this development campaign as an investment that will benefit not only the students and the university, but every person, institution and company like ours that is touched by Mizzou," Kindle said.

Supervising editor is Elizabeth Brixey.

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