gift

St. Louis businessman Fred Kummer makes $300M gift to university

The Kummers’ new gift will be used to establish a school of innovation and entrepreneurship

Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla has received a $300 million donation from a St. Louis businessman and his wife that’s the state’s largest-ever gift in higher education.

Fred Kummer, the founder and chairman of St. Louis-based HBE Corp., and his wife, June, made the gift to a new nonprofit, the Kummer Institute Foundation, to support Missouri S&T, the university announced Monday.

The Kummers’ new gift will be used to establish a school of innovation and entrepreneurship, develop new areas for research, provide scholarships and fellowships for students, and bolster the Rolla region’s economy, officials said.

Fred Kummer, 91, built HBE, which he started in 1960, into a leading design-build firm for health care, officials said. He graduated with a degree in civil engineering from Missouri S&T, then known as the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy, in 1955 and the Kummers have been major donors to the school for decades, officials said.

“I owe much of my success to the education I received at Rolla,” Fred Kummer said in a statement. “My Rolla experience taught me how to think, how to work hard and how to manage my own career. June and I believe in the mission of this great university, and that’s why we have chosen to invest in S&T’s future success. We believe that Missouri S&T’s best days are ahead.”

In a statement, Mo Dehghani, Missouri S&T chancellor, called the gift “transformative” for the university, the Rolla region and the state. “For nearly 150 years, Missouri S&T has been known as the state’s premier technological university. Now, thanks to June and Fred, S&T will have the opportunity to become one of the nation’s leading universities for innovation. At the same time, this gift will make our school a center for entrepreneurship, thereby energizing the economy of the Rolla area and the entire state of Missouri.”

With the gift, Dehghani said the university expects to be able to “dramatically increase the size of our student body, recruit outstanding new faculty, establish powerful new centers of research, and engage with the community in new and exciting ways.”

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