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University receives $6 million gift for Flyer Promise, experiential learning, faculty and staff entrepreneurship, athletics

A University of Dayton alumni couple has donated $6 million to fund a portion of the University’s flagship Flyer Promise scholarship program, support experiential learning opportunities, establish programs to foster a culture of faculty and staff entrepreneurship, and support athletics priorities.

The couple, who have chosen to remain anonymous, have designated $5 million of the gift for academic and innovation efforts and $1 million to support University athletics. While the $6 million gift is the couple's largest to date, they have previously been very generous in their support of other University priorities.

"The University of Dayton has developed forward-thinking, long-term plans that emphasize access to education and diversity within the UD community," one member of the couple said. "We appreciate the way University leadership has selected priorities in which they've chosen to play a leading role — not only within higher education, but in our community and our world."

The gift will help support 20 to 25 Flyer Promise Scholars over a five-year period. Now in its third year, the Flyer Promise Scholars Program helps make a UD education more affordable for high-achieving students who attended one of the program's partner high schools.

"This is a profoundly generous and optimistic gift, one that is focused on what is most important to UD and to creating a better future for our students and the University," said UD President Eric F. Spina. "It will be exciting to welcome the students who will be supported on these scholarship funds, as they likely would not be able to attend without this generosity."

A portion of the couple's gift will support student-athletes and athletics programs other than men's basketball; hands-on, experiential learning opportunities for all students, and the establishment of grant programs to boost entrepreneurial endeavors by faculty and staff.

"We have seen through one of our family members that UD's experiential learning process is a fabulous way to immerse students in greater growth and development," one of the donors said. "It's all part of what I've always called the 'secret sauce' of the University — a blend of all UD's values and the commitment to learn, lead and serve. It's an approach that emphasizes inclusiveness and that really resonates with us." 

During the past year, the University has received a number of multimillion-dollar gifts to advance its educational efforts. In September, the University announced a $5 million gift from Margie and Bill Klesse, both 1968 graduates, to fund scholarships and research opportunities in science and engineering for high-achieving students with financial need. Another $5 million gift for scholarships will be announced soon. 

Spina said each gift helps further the University's efforts to promote academic innovation and increase accessibility for all students.

"At its core, this anonymous gift is about creating new possibilities for students, faculty and staff," Spina said. "That is so appropriate because the extraordinary couple who are sharing their generosity believe deeply in empowering people to make a difference in our community and in the world."

For more information or interviews, contact Cilla Shindell, executive director of news and communications, at or 937-229-3257.


News and Communications Staff