Samford University announced yesterday that it had received a $100 million donation, the largest donation in the school’s history and, according to the university, the largest donation ever made to an educational institution. higher education in the state of Alabama by a single donor.
The donation comes from the estate of Marvin Mann, a 1954 Samford alumnus who died on March 19 of this year. Under the terms of Mann’s will, $95 million of the gift will go toward funding scholarships and $5 million will be used to support the Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership, which Mann established in 2008 in the honor of his late wife, Frances.
“Marvin Mann’s generosity to Samford is unmatched in the institution’s history books. This is a truly transformative gift that will fulfill Marvin’s desire for more students to have life-changing opportunities in as a student and strengthen the university for the future,” Samford President Beck A. Taylor said in the university’s press release.
Born in Springdale, Alabama, Mann was a first-generation college graduate, who worked for IBM for 32 years before founding Lexmark International, Inc. in 1991, where he served as chief executive and president until 1999. He has also served as Chairman of the Independent Board of Directors of Fidelity Mutual Funds.
Samford officials said the new endowment will provide about $3.75 million a year in scholarships. Including undergraduate and graduate programs, more than 100 students are expected to benefit from this financial aid every year.
The remaining $5 million will be added to the current endowment that supports the Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership, a university-wide unit that promotes student development and improves teaching and learning. scholarship in the ten academic schools of the university. The Center is intended to promote the understanding and practice of positive virtues and servant-leadership among students and the wider Samford community.
Taylor noted that the scholarship endowment will allow Samford to attract more high-calibre students, many of whom could not afford to attend college without the new financial support. “Access and affordability remain two of the greatest opportunities Samford has to expand its reach to more students and families. These funds will allow us to connect with students who want to attend Samford in new and exciting ways while reaching potential new student populations for whom Samford will be an excellent choice for their educational needs,” Taylor said.
Mann was a longtime supporter of Samford University. In addition to being named Alumnus of the Year in 2004, he received Samford’s inaugural Business Ethics Award in 2006. This award, which was later renamed the Marvin Mann Ethics-in-Business Award, ” recognizes individuals who embody professional achievement and personal integrity, who demonstrate an uncommon commitment to service leadership, and who have left their mark of influence on institutions and industries without compromising virtue or Christian charity. Mann also received an honorary doctorate of commerce from the university in 1993.
About Samford University
Located in Homewood, Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham, Samford University is a private Christian university that offers dozens of undergraduate programs and numerous master’s and doctoral degrees in the health professions, law, and other areas. Founded in 1841, Samford describes itself as the 87th oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Its current enrollment is just over 5,700 students.