Cash-rich alumni pass on the good fortune

June 15, 2007

Several American universities have received large donations from charities and former students.

The largest was a $105 million (£53 million) donation from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to set up a health research institute at the University of Washington. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation will collect and analyse data on health trends and evaluate the effectiveness of programmes. The results will be available to policy-makers, researchers and the public. The donation is the largest gift in the university's history.

Meanwhile, another software magnate has donated $100 million to the University of Illinois. Alumnus Thomas Siebel, founder of Siebel Systems, will make the gift in his will for science and engineering programmes at the university. The University of Chicago has also received a similar-sized donation from an anonymous alumnus to be spent on scholarships for low-income students.

Finally, actor Paul Newman made a $10 million donation to his alma mater, Kenyon College in Ohio. The money will go into the college's scholarship fund.

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