MU pumps a lot of money into the economy, but what about the graduates? How do they impact the world?

The Mizzou Alumni Association keeps a list of notable graduates, which was used here to evaluate their economic impact.

For example, the Walton family is considered the richest family in America. Members are known for their stake in Walmart, one of the world’s largest retailers.

One of the founders, Sam Walton, started his business journey at MU, graduating with a degree in economics. With multiple businesses, including a chain of banks across America, the net worth of the Walton family was estimated to be $247 billion in 2020.

Alumni are among the most generous donors to the university. In fiscal year 2016, the university reported a new record in donations, with nearly $171 million coming into campus. The previous record of $164.5 million in 2014 was surpassed by over $5 million.

2016 continued a three-year run with the university receiving 20 gifts worth $1 million or more, as well as donations from 44,000 different donors.

Highlighting the record-breaking year of donations was one of $25 million from Richard and Nancy Kinder to create the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy.

Richard Kinder was born in Cape Girardeau and graduated from the university in 1966. He has since become one of MU’s most decorated alumni and wealthiest donors.

The following year, a donation of similar nature was made to the MU School of Journalism by alumnus David Novak. He graduated from the school in 1974 and co-founded Yum! Brands, a company that franchises and operates restaurant chains across the globe.

Among them are Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and KFC, with the company reporting $11 billion in revenue in 2017, according to Forbes magazine.

That same year, Novak made a donation of $21.6 million to fund the creation and operation of the Novak Leadership Institute.

Fiscal year 2017 and 2018 saw donations of $151 million and $161 million, respectively. This continued a seven-year trend of increased productivity in raising cash and donations.

During the years 2009 to 2011, productivity decreased 27%. But, during 2011 to 2018, it increased by nearly 81%, according to Giving to Mizzou.

In 2007, the century-old College of Business was renamed the Trulaske College of Business after industry titan Robert J. Trulaske Sr.

Trulaske founded True Manufacturing in 1945, dedicated to producing refrigeration products and now making a reported $280 million in revenue annually.

A 1940 graduate, Trulaske’s financial support of the school dates back as early as 1997 when he created an endowment to fund scholarships for students, as well as the creation of a scholarship coordinator for the college.

Around four years after his death in 2004, his wife, Geraldine Trulaske, donated an undisclosed amount of money to the university, resulting in renaming the school after her late husband.

As a result of her donation, the school’s “For All We Call Mizzou” campaign surpassed its fundraising goal with a recorded $72 million raised.

The increased success in generating donations has opened doors for the university’s fundraising campaigns. The “Mizzou: Our Time to Lead” campaign hit its goal of over $1.4 billion in 2020 from 176,000 individual donors.

The funds have been used to provide support for students, programs, faculty, facilities and private grant expenditures.

In the group of 176,000 individual donors, 104,000 were from Missouri, 73,000 were from outside Missouri and 84,000 were alumni.

Alumni often make donations in association with the Jefferson Club, a group of university alumni, friends and MU affiliates who have given a cumulative $50,000 to the University.

The club awards a “Golden Quill” alumni excellence award each year. Previous winners have included Missouri Supreme Court Judge Robin Ransom and CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett.

Other groups, like the Chancellor’s Society, honor the university’s most loyal donors by repurposing the funds into addressing emerging needs and capitalizing on timely opportunities.

The Legacy Society honors its members each year at an event on campus and has adopted a focus on “planned- gifts,” such as endowments, personal wills, life insurance gifts, real estate and life estate.

In March, a group of MU donors gave 2,652 gifts during the fifth annual Mizzou Giving Day, raising a total of $4,044,771.

“Fundraising continues as Mizzou continues excellence in research and student support,” said Stephanie Fleming, assistant director of the MU News Bureau.

“Donors of all capacities support Mizzou, including annual fund contributors whose giving supports every facet of the university all year round.”

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