To be paid out over five years, the largest gift ever to the school, which comes with virtually no strings attached, is from a Minnesotan who recently learned of his own Native American roots. "The idea of creating this center of excellence around all things Native American as it pertains to health and science is something that we're really excited about being able to use these funds for," Paula Termuhlen, dean of the school's Duluth campus, told the News Tribune.
The university has not yet determined how the funds will be allocated, though ideas such as filling gaps that federal funding doesn't address, purchasing sophisticated research equipment, and increasing the number of students enrolled have all been suggested. The process of making such decisions will involve faculty, staff, community members, and the donor, Termuhlen said.
"The idea that we could endow professorships that would allow us to have leaders in programs that will continue in perpetuity is really exciting," she told the News Tribune. "And that's really how you get it done. You bring in bright people, and you figure out ways to keep them."