Omaha businessman Walter Scott Jr. has donated $53.3 million to Colorado State University, the largest contribution in the school’s history.
The money will go toward scholarships, faculty support and research, said the university, which will name its engineering college the Walter Scott Jr. College of Engineering.
Scott earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the college in 1953 and began his career at Peter Kiewit Sons’ Inc., becoming its chairman and CEO and now chairman emeritus.
“As we get older, I think it’s natural to think about the generations that will follow,” Scott, 85, said in a press release. “And in a technological age, it’s important that our top students have the opportunity to study at strong research universities.”
“We are humbled and incredibly grateful for this remarkable gift from Walter Scott,” Colorado State President Tony Frank said in the press release. “Walter has been a passionate
and generous supporter of CSU since he graduated more than 60 years ago, and this gift is truly transformational.”
Scott has donated more than $220 million to the University of Nebraska at Omaha, which recently named its south campus after him. His UNO support includes scholarships for 130 to 150 students per year and donations to establish the Peter Kiewit Institute, residence halls and other facilities.
At Colorado State, his money also helped build the newly completed Suzanne and Walter Scott Jr. Bioengineering Building and provide support for more than 30 faculty members and 120 graduate students who conduct research there into water, energy, health and environmental challenges.
The latest gift will expand Scott’s scholarship program at Colorado State to as many as 80 undergraduates and 30 graduate students.
It will create “presidential chair” faculty positions in water, health, energy and the environment, the college’s four “areas of excellence,” with laboratories and other infrastructure to support teaching and research. The donation also provides discretionary funds for innovative and leadership programs.
Kiewit Corp.’s office in Englewood, Colorado, employs more than 100 of the university’s alumni.
Engineering Dean David McLean said the gift will help the college attract top students and faculty members and become one of the best engineering programs in the country.