Someone donated $200 million to this North Carolina college, its largest gift ever

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An anonymous donor has given $200 million to Catawba College in Salisbury, the largest gift in the school’s 170 years, college officials said Thursday.

“This extraordinary gift is an affirmation of the quality of education at Catawba College and reflects the donor’s ambition for Catawba to flourish for generations to come,” Catawba College President David Nelson said in a statement. “ .... It is impossible to adequately express our gratitude.”

Catawba College has about 1,200 undergraduate and graduate students. The liberal arts school is consistently ranked as a top 10 regional college in the South by “U.S. News and World Report,” Catawba College officials said.

All on-campus undergraduate students receive financial aid, which the school says shows its commitment to promoting access and social mobility.

A third of the gift for the school’s endowment will provide recurring funding for Catawba’s environment and sustainability undergraduate programs, officials said. Two-thirds will support strategic initiatives, student scholarships and programming, and faculty excellence.

Also this year, the college received gifts totaling $18 million to retire its entire debt.

Catawba’s endowment per student is one of the highest among private colleges and universities in the South, with the total endowment now exceeding $300 million, officials said.

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