Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, has announced a $50 million gift from alumni Michael Bonney ('80) and Alison Grott Bonney ('80).
Announced at a kickoff event for $300 million Bates Campaign, the gift will fund the construction and renovation of STEM facilities on campus. Michael Bonney, retired CEO of Cubist Pharmaceuticals, chairs the school's board of trustees and serves as one of three co-chairs of the fundraising campaign. Made through the Bonney Family Foundation, the gift is believed to be the largest cash donation ever to a Maine institution of higher education. In 2016, the Bonneys contributed $10 million — the largest single gift to Bates at the time — to endow three professorships and help launch a new program in Digital and Computational Studies.
Bates already has raised a total of $168.5 million — including eighteen commitments of at least $1 million — during the quiet phase of the campaign, which will support four priority areas: driving academic excellence; supporting financial aid; catalyzing student success, with a focus on leadership and student programming, inclusivity, athletics, and "purposeful work"; and enhancing the school's financial sustainability.
Noting that he and his wife have occasionally made their gifts anonymously, Bonney said that "tonight we have chosen to step forward publicly to show our gratitude for all that Bates has given to us and our family and to share our excitement about this transformative moment for the college."