The unrestricted gift — the largest ever given to a public university to name a college of engineering — will be added to the school's endowment, giving the university flexibility with respect to how the income can be used and the programs it will support. In addition, the Grainger Foundation will match all gifts to the Engineering Visionary Scholarship Initiative for undergraduates, up to $25 million, through the end of 2019. In recognition of the foundation's support, which with its latest gift totals more than $300 million, the school will be renamed the Grainger College of Engineering.
William W. Grainger graduated from the university's electrical engineering program in 1919 and founded the industrial supply company W.W. Grainger, Inc. in 1927 and the Grainger Foundation in 1949. Previous gifts from the foundation have supported a variety of initiatives, including the Grainger Center for Electric Machinery and Electromechanics, the Grainger Chair in Electrical Engineering, the Grainger Power Engineering Awards, the Grainger Library and Information Center, the new Electrical and Computer Engineering Building, the Engineering Visionary Scholarship Initiative, and the Grainger Engineering Breakthroughs Initiative, which included $100 million for research, undergraduate scholarships, the renovation of Everitt Lab, and faculty chairs and professorships.
"One hundred years after William W. Grainger graduated from our college, his impact is still felt. We are forever grateful," said Rashid Bashir, dean of the Grainger College of Engineering. "Very few colleges have seen this kind of long-term, flexible support. We are proud to be one of them, and it will allow our research enterprise and educational programs to flourish. It will also allow us to recruit, reward, and retain the very best faculty with more and larger faculty chairs and professorships."