Gifts & Donations | September 2020

Texas A&M alums raise money to name department after retiring professor, the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill receives funds to expand its campus, and more.


To mark the retirement of James Benjamin after 37 years of service, alumni of Texas A & M University’s Mays Business School in College Station created an endowed fund to name the department of accounting after him. As of late July, the former students had raised US$11.2 million for the James Benjamin Department of Accounting, surpassing their goal of $10 million. During Benjamin’s three-and-a-half decades as department head, 17,102 students graduated, including 2,113 from the Business Honors program. He served under five deans and raised more than $35 million for the school. The university released a video to capture highlights of his retirement.

DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, has received US$1 million from the RSM US Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the tax and audit firm RSM International. The gift establishes two endowed faculty fellowships in the Driehaus College of Business. The first RSM Fellow to be named is associate professor Mary Mindak; a second fellow will be named in the future.

The Institute for Sustainable Finance (ISF) at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, has received additional funding from the McConnell Foundation, which supports institutions addressing social, economic, and environmental challenges. The ISF is based at the Smith School of Business and dedicated to implementing sustainable finance approaches that will enable Canada to thrive through a low-carbon transition. The new grant of CAN$450,000 over three years is in addition to $150,000 in funding already committed to ISF by the McConnell Foundation.

The Lowth Entrepreneurship Center at the University of Tampa in Florida has received a grant from the TD Charitable Foundation to expand its Spartan Incubator Program, which will assist more low- to moderate-income (LMI) individuals in advancing their early-stage businesses. The 12-month program is a free service that allows business owners to receive guidance from faculty, investors, entrepreneurs, and experts. Business owners accepted to the program are typically working full-time to launch their startups, and at least 80 them of them fall into the LMI category. The grant from the TD Charitable Foundation will fund the cost of bringing in consultants, subject experts, coaches, and training sessions to enhance the program.

In July, North Carolina state government passed a bill that will provide US$75 million to expand the campus of the University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School. To receive these funds, Kenan-Flagler must raise an additional $75 million in matching funds by June 30, 2022. As part of the $150 million project, the business school will build a new facility, renovate existing facilities, and add additional parking—projects scheduled to be completed over three years. UNC Kenan-Flagler currently enrolls approximately 1,000 undergraduate students; the planned improvements will enable the school to increase student enrollment in its undergraduate business program by at least 50 percent.