in St. Louis has announced $20 million pledge from trustee John F. McDonnell to create a challenge fund in support of student scholarships and fellowships.
The gift, one of the largest for scholarships in the history of the university, will establish the McDonnell Scholarship Challenge, a matching program for all new or augmented gifts for undergraduate, graduate, and professional scholarships and fellowships, up to a total of $20 million. To qualify for the match, gifts and commitments must be received by the official close of on June 30, 2018. Multiyear pledges payable through June 30, 2023, will count toward the total and are encouraged.
Following a distinguished career with McDonnell Douglas Corp., John McDonnell retired as chairman of the board after overseeing a merger with that created the world’s largest aerospace company. A longtime Washington University trustee and former chairman of its board, McDonnell currently chairs the campaign’s executive committee. From 1986 to 1991, he served as founding chair of the Arts & Sciences National Council and remained a member until 2006, when he joined the School of Engineering & Applied Science National Council.
McConnell's past gifts to the university include a $60 million gift in 2010 that supported numerous endowed professorships, scholarships, buildings, and academic programs and a 2005 gift that established the McDonnell International Scholars Academy, a global research and education partnership comprising the university and thirty-two leading institutions around the world. In 2009, he also made a challenge gift in support of scholarships, which was met two years ahead of schedule.
"John McDonnell has been a dedicated leader, tireless advocate, and visionary philanthropist on behalf of Washington University for more than fifty years, and we are deeply grateful for this wonderful support," said university chancellor Mark S. Wrighton. "Together, we have an unprecedented opportunity to raise half a billion dollars or more to help future generations of students achieve their dream of a Washington University education."