Furman University, a small liberal arts school in Greenville, South Carolina, has received what may turn out to be one of the largest gifts in the history of higher education. John D. Hollingsworth Jr., a wealthy textile executive who passed away in late December, bequeathed nearly his entire estate, which early estimates value at between $150 million to $700 million, to the university as well as various other charities.
Hollingsworth had attended Furman for a year in the late 1930s before dropping out to run the family business. Forty-five percent of his estate will go to the university, which was founded in 1826 and has an endowment of $260 million. An additional 45 percent of the estate will go to charities picked annually by the board of Hollingsworth's nonprofit foundation. The remaining 10 percent will go to the Greenville YMCA.
Hollingsworth supported both Furman and the YMCA over the years, and Furman officials said they had known of the gift for about 20 years.
The will provides nothing for Hollingsworth's only child, a daughter he accused, along with his former wife, of stealing from the company. The daughter's children, however, will each get a $250,000 college trust fund.
For more information, see the news stories compiled at Furman University's Web site: http://www.furman.edu/plan/design4/news/hollingsworth/