Duquesne University has announced a $12.5 million unrestricted gift from the estate of businessman and philanthropist William S. Dietrich II, who passed away earlier this month.
The largest gift in the university's 133-year history will be added to its endowment and support the creation of the William S. Dietrich II Scholars program. The announcement comes on the heels of two planned gifts from Dietrich in support of higher education in Pittsburgh: one of $265 million to Carnegie Mellon University and another of $125 million to the University of Pittsburgh. Unlike those two recipients, Dietrich did not attend or have a formal relationship with Duquesne, but according to the university's president, Charles J. Dougherty, he had been encouraged by the school's recent progress in a number of areas.
"Mr. Dietrich's remarkable gift will dramatically change the lives of many students who otherwise might not be able to afford to further their educations," said Dougherty. "Since 1878, when Spiritan priests began to educate the children of immigrant steelworkers, providing access to an education regardless of [a student's] ability to pay has been an integral part of Duquesne. The Dietrich Scholars program will ensure this important aspect of our heritage continues to serve students today and tomorrow. We are grateful for his generosity and commitment to education."