The University of Toledo received its largest gift ever - $15 million - from billionaire Marvin Herb and his wife, Judith Daso Herb, UT graduates who spoke at one of the school's commencements yesterday.
Directed toward the college of education, which will be renamed in honor of Mrs. Herb, the donation includes $8 million for scholarships, $4.25 million for educational research, and $2.75 million to support an electronic assessment and development system for faculty.
"Education doesn't stop here. It's a lifelong process," Mrs. Herb told graduates of the colleges of arts and sciences, education, engineering as well as university college, echoing the notion of commencement as a beginning and not an ending.
She is a Toledo native and a former elementary schoolteacher who received her bachelor's and master's degrees in education from UT.
There were 2,683 candidates for degrees from the university's seven colleges, including those who will finish classes in August. Of those, there were 540 candidates for doctorate, education specialist, and master's degrees as well as 2,143 for bachelor's and associate degrees.
In a separate commencement yesterday, Roderick J. McDavis, president of Ohio University, addressed graduates from the colleges of business administration, health and human services, and pharmacy.
Ohio Supreme Court Justice Judith Ann Lanzinger will address law school graduates at 1 p.m. today in the UT Student Union auditorium. A total of 119 students are candidates for law degrees this spring and summer.
Once Mrs. Herb concluded her remarks, Dan Johnson, soon to be UT's president emeritus, announced the "truly transformational" gift to ecstatic applause from graduates, parents, and faculty in Savage Hall.
Mr. Herb stepped to the podium and crystallized its significance with something he said he once heard from a UT professor.
"A teacher affects eternity," he said. "Think about that for a second because it's true. A teacher teaches for 25, 30, or 40 years. How many students do they teach every year? How many students go out into the world? They do really affect eternity."
A former manager of a Pepsi-Cola bottling plant, Mr. Herb, who holds a master of business administration degree from UT, purchased Coca-Cola bottling operations in Chicago, Indianapolis, Rochester, and Milwaukee, making him more than a billion dollars, according to Forbes magazine.
The UT foundation will manage the gift and distribute its proceeds, which are estimated to be about 5 percent a year, said Vern Snyder, vice president for institutional advancement at UT. That means the $8 million will generate about $400,000 in grant money each year for about 25 Herb scholars.
The funds for educational research will study how schools, which currently emphasize instruction in the classroom, can shift more focus onto the individual learning processes of students, said Thomas Switzer, dean of the college of education.
"It's a gift of such magnitude that it gives us the flexibility to do things we couldn't do under the current budget conditions in the state," said Mr. Switzer, adding that the donation is not intended to replace depleted funding to the university from the state government.
The University of Toledo actively cultivated the donation during the course of four years, Mr. Snyder said. The Herbs first gave $1 million in 1998 to establish an endowed professorship at UT's college of education.
"It validates the University of Toledo and that they've seen what's going on and believe in it, believe in it so much that they made a major investment," Mr. Snyder said. "These gifts don't happen overnight."
UT has a $75 million capital campaign, which now stands at $51 million as a result of the Herbs' donation. Their gift, which also was made possible by the Herbs' sons, Thomas and Jon, will help accelerate that campaign, Mr. Snyder said.
"Campaigns are top down," he said. "Top donors give first and everyone follows."
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