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In the largest single gift in the history of Missouri higher education, St. Louis businessman Fred Kummer and his wife June have donated $300 million to a foundation that will support Missouri University of Science and Technology, Missouri S&T, the university announced Monday.

The new gift will enable the university to establish a new school of innovation and entrepreneurship, develop new areas for research, provide numerous scholarships and fellowships for students, and bolster the Rolla region’s economy.

“This gift is transformative for S&T, the Rolla region and our state,” said Mo Dehghani, Missouri S&T chancellor, in a news release. “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 this gift, we expect 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,” Dehghani said.  

Fred Kummer credited his education in Rolla as a critical part of his success.

“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.”

Fred Kummer, 91, is the founder and chairman of St. Louis-based HBE Corp., which he established in 1960 and built into the world’s leading design-build firm for health care. He is a 1955 civil engineering graduate of Missouri S&T, which was then known as the Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy. He and his wife have been major donors to Missouri S&T for decades.

Missouri S&T was founded in 1870. The 8,000-student Rolla institution is part of the four-campus University of Missouri system. It offers 99 degree programs in 40 areas of study including engineering, the sciences, business and information technology, education, the humanities, and the liberal arts.  

Claudette Riley is the education reporter for the News-Leader. Email news tips to criley@news-leader.com.

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