Video: $5 million donated to School of Business

Ben Fitch

The largest donation in Washburn’s history, nearly $5 million, will go to the School of Business and help supplement faculty salaries.

Trish and Richard Davidson presented the gift this morning. There was not a check, but Goldman Sachs will fund the distribution and make an allotment every quarter.(story continued below)

“I’ve been thinking about it for years,” said alumnus Richard Davidson, “I have felt a debt of gratitude [for Washburn] because they got me into college in the first place.”

The Davidsons’ donation will be enough to qualify for matching funds through the Kansas Partnership for Faculty of Distinction program. The program, established in 2000, says the state will act as a partner, providing supplemental funding to the income earnings of each qualifying gift.

President Jerry Farley said the gift will allow the school to hire the best faculty and retain them with competitive salaries. In doing so, Washburn will be better suited to compete in the national market. Farley did not wish to comment, however, on what implications the donation will have for student tuitions and fees.

Before graduating in 1965, Richard Davidson received basketball scholarships from Washburn and worked to pay for school. Now, he and his wife Trish live in Bonita Springs, Fla. Davidson was the CEO of Union Pacific until January 2006. Trish Davidson also retired from the Union Pacific, she graduated from the University of Iowa in 1972.

As a message to students, Richard Davidson said, “It’s a damn competitive world, study hard, do well.”