Noteworthy News: University of Arkansas Sets Record with $300 Million Gift

Article excerpt

The University of Arkansas received the largest gift in the history of American public higher education last month - a $300 million commitment from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation of Bentonville, Ark.

The gift, from the family of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, will be used to establish and endow an undergraduate honors college and endow the graduate school.

"This unprecedented generosity from the Walton family will transform the University of Arkansas for our students and faculty, and in the process position us to serve as a powerful engine of economic development and cultural change for the entire state," says Dr. John A. White, University of Arkansas chancellor.

University of Arkansas officials say the money will boost the state's economy by improving higher education in the state. But they made clear that the impressive donation won't lessen the need for state funding or deter planned tuition hikes.

"These things are vital and they will always be vital," says Dr. Dave Gearhart, vice chancellor for university advancement. Gearhart, who will serve on a board of governors overseeing endowments created by the money, said the gift will help the university attain a level of excellence that wasn't before possible. …