Purdue alumni, benefactors gift $27M
Purdue University has announced it received two gifts this week, totaling $27 million, from long-time university benefactors whose gifts could have a long-term impact for future Boilermakers. A portion of the money will help the College of Pharmacy, while another portion will support the School of Mechanical Engineering, the Department of Psychological Sciences and University Residences.
Jeannie and Jim Chaney had committed to giving the university $17 million to support endowments, scholarships, and development projects for the College of Pharmacy. Purdue says the Chaneys are among the most prolific benefactors in university history. Including this estate gift, they have committed more than $44 million over 45 years.
Jeannie Chaney graduated from Purdue in 1961 and worked as a pharmacist for 50 years, before retiring in 2011.
“Scholarships have always been a major component of our giving because college debt is such a big concern for students,” said the Chaneys. “Purdue continues to prioritize affordability and accessibility, and we are in full support of that initiative.”
Jim Chaney is president of the Cleveland Syrup Corp., which provides sweeteners to food manufacturing companies.
“It seems like every time Purdue seeks support for its next giant leap, the Chaneys are willing to step up and do whatever it takes,” said Matt Folk, president and CEO of the Purdue for Life Foundation and vice president for university advancement and alumni engagement at Purdue. “They are always in lockstep with the university, this time making one of the largest commitments toward affordability in Purdue history.”
The other gift came from alumni William and Barbara Rakosnik. They have committed more than $10 million to Purdue in support of graduate programs in mechanical engineering and psychological sciences. A portion of the gift is earmarked for university residences.
The commitment includes $125,000 to establish endowments and a $10 million trust fund that will provide continued support.
William earned an undergraduate and master’s degree from Purdue with engineering focus, and Barbara earned her degree in health and human sciences. Both worked as resident assistants during their time at Purdue.
“Bill and I really enjoyed living the whole campus experience,” said Barbara Rakosnik. “After a very brief encounter on campus, a few phone calls and four years of dating, we were married at the University Lutheran Church, right on campus. So, to say we have fond memories doesn’t even begin to cover it. When we give back, we have the whole student in mind. We feel strongly that every Purdue student deserves the opportunity to grow and blossom.”
The Rakosniks are now retired. William worked for more than 30 years at IBM. Barbara worked in architecture and later started her own embroidery business.
“This generous gift from the Rakosniks is very important because it touches on several areas and focuses on students and their everyday experiences,” said Purdue President Mung Chiang. “Anybody who has been on a college campus knows that it’s the students, including graduate students, who bring a university to life. The impact of this gift will be felt by many of our students for decades to come.”