The former chief executive officer of McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD) and his wife have donated $1 million to Purdue University. The gift from Don and Liz Thompson will create an endowment for the College of Engineering with the majority going toward scholarships for minority engineering students.
Purdue says $900,000 will be used for the scholarships and the remaining $100,000 will go to the Minority Engineering Program on the West Lafayette campus. The Thompsons are both electrical engineering graduates from Purdue and Don Thompson has served as a trustee at the university since 2009.
"We at the College of Engineering are proud of Don and Liz as outstanding alumni," said Mung Chiang, dean of the College of Engineering. "Their careers and lives have been an inspiration to generations of Boilermaker engineers. When I learned that they would be providing this generous and visionary gift, I knew right away what a big impact it would have for our students and for the Minority Engineering Program. As the founding site of the National Society of Black Engineers, Purdue Engineering has a strong heritage of supporting access and success for minority students. This gift will enable us to do even more."
Don Thompson served as president and CEO of McDonald’s from 2012 to 2015. He and his wife currently lead Cleveland Avenue, a venture capital firm supporting innovative food, beverage, and restaurant concepts and emerging brands, according to Purdue.
"Liz and I have supported Purdue and MEP for many years because we truly believe all young people should have access to a quality engineering education, and we believe Purdue provides that at the highest levels," Don Thompson said. "Our endowment will provide renewable scholarships to reduce the financial burdens that might otherwise prohibit access to a Purdue education. We also support critical programming through MEP that prepares underrepresented students throughout their STEM education and beyond."
The gift was donated as part of the Purdue Day of Giving, which set a record for the fourth consecutive year by raising nearly $38 million.