In 1995, Central Michigan University alum Robert M. Richmond knew he was going to remember CMU in his estate plans, but he provided little detail. Late last year, Richmond, who graduated from CMU in 1966, passed away after a three-year battle with pancreatic cancer.
He left nearly $10 million of his estate to his alma mater to help support CMU students.
"This gift is the culmination of Mr. Richmond's life and work, and his generosity is an inspiring example of how the CMU community takes care of each other" CMU President Bob Davies said. "He's trusting CMU to make the world a better place through education and innovation."
The largest cash donation from a single donor, and one of the largest contributions in CMU's history, Richmond's gift will create the President's Fund for University Excellence endowment to support:
- Undergraduate scholarships to be administered in conjunction with Multicultural Advancement and Lloyd M. Cofer Scholarships, which will help students persevere to graduation.
- Staff and program initiatives to assist underserved populations through Multicultural Academic Student Services.
- Creation of a "Finish Up Chips!" scholarship program to assist students who are within 25 credits of graduation and at risk of dropping out for financial reasons.
- Scholarships for adult learners completing their degrees online or at one of CMU's many satellite locations.
- Student service needs as they occur.
- New lifelong learning programs, including certificates and badges.
"These funds come at a time when it's more important than ever to help students financially on their path to a degree," Davies said. "Mr. Richmond's influence will continue at CMU for generations to come."
After graduating from CMU with a degree in business administration, Richmond trained with IBM and helped businesses set up their computer systems. He met his late wife, Lois, in Belding, Michigan, and they created B&L Plastics and later B&L Development. The couple enjoyed traveling and eventually retired to Rio Verde, Arizona.