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Missouri S&T Receiving $300 Million From Alumnus To Foster Entrepreneurship

Fred and June Kummer are donating $300 million to Missouri S&T
Terry Barner
Missouri S&T
Fred and June Kummer are donating $300 million to Missouri S&T.

Updated at 3:10 p.m. Oct. 12, with more details of the donation and comments from Fred Kummer

ROLLA — Fred Kummer, a 1955 graduate of Missouri University of Science and Technology, and his wife, June, are donating $300 million to the school in what is believed to be the biggest single gift ever to a public university in Missouri.

The money is creating the not-for-profit Kummer Institute Foundation. It will fund projects at Missouri S&T in the coming few years with some of the money, while the rest will be reserved for an endowment, with the proceeds going toward S&T projects in perpetuity.

Specifically, the money will be used to fund a variety of programs, faculty positions, scholarships and research projects with a focus on four major areas: infrastructure, advanced manufacturing, artificial intelligence and autonomous systems, with all of them also incorporating environmental and resource sustainability.

Missouri S&T Chancellor Mo Dehghani said the effects of the gift will be felt across campus, including areas outside of science and engineering.

“There will be benefits to areas including social sciences, economics, history, industrial psychology, all of the areas that are relevant to the critical challenges that the nation faces today,” Dehghani said.

Fred Kummer, 91, is the founder and chairman of St. Louis-based HBE Corp., which specializes in health care design and building.

“I went to an unusually fine school. I’m glad I came here,” he said in a video released by the university.

He graduated from the school then known as Missouri School of Mines and Metallurgy before changing its name to the University of Missouri-Rolla and eventually Missouri University of Science and Technology. He met his wife while in school.

The Kummer Student Design Center. The Hummers gave the lead gift to build the center in a previous donation.
Jonathan Ahl
St. Louis Public Radio
The Kummer Student Design Center. The Kummers gave the lead gift to build the center in a previous donation.

The Kummers have been major donors to the university for years. Their name is on the Student Design Center on campus.

In addition to funding academics, the Kummers’ gift will help the local economy.

“The second vision (of the donation), and he’s very emphatic on that, is that this gift has to resolve into economic development for the region,” Dehghani said.

Research projects will attempt to bridge the gap between the university and viable commercial ventures, bringing more high-tech jobs to Rolla.

“Rolla is already in the lead in the public arena, and that’s what we ought to build on,” Fred Kummer said.

The University of Missouri-Columbia predicts the economic impact of the gift will be $250 million in the first five years and more than $2 billion in 25 years.

Follow Jonathan on Twitter: @JonathanAhl

Jonathan Ahl is the Newscast Editor and Rolla correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.