Founding Panthers owner Jerry Richardson gifts $150M to Wofford College, largest in school’s history

Founding Panthers owner Jerry Richardson gifts $150M to Wofford College, largest in school’s history
Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson watches before the NFL football NFC Championship game against the Arizona Cardinals, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Bob Leverone)

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WBTV) - Founding Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson has gifted $150 million to his alma mater Wofford College, the largest gift in the school’s history.

The gift is designated for the endowment with a focus on need-based scholarships and experiences for Wofford students, the school announced Wednesday.

With this gift, officials say Richardson’s contributions to Wofford exceed $262.6 million, among the largest individual commitments ever to a U.S. college or university.

The $257.3 million he has given since 2014 as part of the current “For Wofford” campaign is the largest single campaign gift made to a national liberal arts college.

“Mr. Richardson’s loyalty to Wofford College and his commitment to the student experience have been a constant since he came to Spartanburg from Fayetteville, N.C., on a modest football scholarship in 1954,” said Wofford President Nayef Samhat. “After he graduated, he gave even when he had very little to give, and throughout his life’s journey, he has remembered his alma mater without fail. This gift is Mr. Richardson once again changing the game for Wofford College students, and we are forever grateful for his love of our college and the countless ways this gift will impact our students, our community and ultimately our world.”

The $150 million endowment gift will focus on four areas:

  • Need-based financial aid that will affect hundreds of students each year.
  • Off-campus U.S. and global study opportunities, student and faculty research, internships and entrepreneurial learning opportunities.
  • An initiative to transition all of the college’s support staff to a minimum wage of $15 per hour.
  • A special fund for the maintenance, repair and improvement of campus buildings.

The college will award the earnings from these funds so that the impact of this gift continues in perpetuity.

“These endowed funds will play a crucial role in making a Wofford education affordable and accessible for generations of students while helping the college to extend its support and appreciation for staff members who contribute to the Wofford experience,” said Samhat. “Every member of our community will benefit in some way from this gift!

“Wofford College has a reputation for supporting student success. Since the college was founded in 1854, faculty and staff have used the resources available to them to mentor, advise and inspire students such as Jerry Richardson. Now, because of Mr. Richardson, the full Wofford College experience will be available to even more students, especially those impeded by financial barriers.”

Richardson many times has credited his Wofford College career with helping him succeed in business and in the NFL.

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