Mystery donor strikes again

by E Wayne Ross on April 22, 2009

AP: Mystery donor keeps giving to woman-run colleges

The mystery college donor has struck again — this time at Binghamton University in New York, whose financial aid office phone started ringing off the hook as word of an anonymous $6 million contribution spread across campus.

Binghamton is the latest of at least a dozen universities to receive donations totaling more than $60 million in recent weeks. The gifts have arrived with the same, highly unusual stipulation: not only must the donor must remain anonymous, but not even the college can know who it is or try to find out.

The recipient colleges seem to have almost nothing in common except this: so far, all are led by women.

Press & Sun-Bulletin: BU gets $6M mystery donation
Money to go toward scholarships, tuition aid

It appears the mystery donor has struck again.

This time, Binghamton University is the lucky school.

BU has received an anonymous $6 million donation, the largest individual gift in school history. The money, and the circumstances surrounding it, seem to follow a most unusual script.

“To have this come out of the blue, it really takes your breath away,” said BU President Lois DeFleur.

The gift came with two strings attached: BU had to promise it will not attempt to uncover the identity of the donor; and most of the money must be used for scholarships and student aid.

That follows the pattern of a mysterious benefactor, who in recent weeks has given more than $48.5 million to at least nine universities across the United States, including $8 million to Purdue University and $7 million to the University of Iowa.