Washington State University has received a $26 million gift from its richest dropout, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, the Seattle Times reports.
Allen's gift — the largest in the university's 120-year history and the lead gift in a $1 billion fundraising campaign — will be used to help the university's School for Global Animal Health, which studies diseases that move from animals to humans, build programs and cross-train scientists in Washington State and Africa. Eventually, the school hopes to establish an independent research program in Africa financed by the Kenyan and Tanzanian governments. In recognition of the gift, the school, which was established in 2008 with a $25 million gift from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will be renamed the Paul G. Allen School for Global Animal Health.
According to the Seattle Times, Allen, whose gifts to the university over the years have ranged from $195,000 to $3.1 million, expressed satisfaction in being able to contribute to something Gates was also involved in. But he emphasized that the idea for the gift was something he had been thinking about for a decade, and that the opportunity to bring it to fruition presented itself when the university suggested he invest in its plans to do scientific research in Africa.
"This particular gift 8212 because it's focused on animal health and the third world and Africa, which I've grown really to care about 8212 really resonated with me," Allen said in an interview after the announcement of the gift. "It was just a great opportunity to work with Washington State to bring it about."