When MU graduate Al McQuinn and his wife, May Agnes McQuinn, gave $5 million to the MU College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resouces on Friday, it was the largest unrestricted gift ever given to MU by a living donor, said MU spokesman Jeremy Dierner.
McQuinn said that through the couple’s gift, which Diener said may be the largest such gift ever given by a living donor to a public university, he is hoping to give back to MU for an education that he says has given him a tremendous advantage in his lifetime work.
“I appreciate the education I received from the University of Missouri in the early 1950s, largely at taxpayer expense,” McQuinn said. “Today, we wish to give back to the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources at a time when they have great need and can apply our gift across the full academic spectrum for the benefit of those students who attend the university today.”
This is a “challenge gift,” meaning that the college must raise at least another $5 million from other individuals, corporations or foundations to receive the full $5 million McQuinn gift.
The McQuinns hope their gift will be used to leverage funds from other sources.
The gift is unrestricted, meaning Thomas Payne, vice-chancellor for agriculture and dean of the college, will have complete control over how the $5 million is spent.
“We have a very high level of confidence in ... Tom Payne’s ability to manage and administer this gift to the university’s greatest advantage,” McQuinn said. In a Monday press release, Payne said the gift would give the college more flexibility in managing its resources.
“It’s our challenge to go out and make the investment grow,” Payne said.
In the release, MU Chancellor Richard Wallace said the gift was both “unusual and wonderful” in the fact that it is unrestricted and in the way it encourages others to contribute to MU.
“In making this gift, the McQuinns are challenging alumni, friends, corporations and others to make a commitment to the college,” Wallace said.
Al McQuinn graduated from MU with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics in 1954.