Richard King Mellon Foundation gives $30 million to CMU, $7 million to Seton Hill

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The Richard King Mellon Foundation has made two record-setting gifts: $30 million to Carnegie Mellon University and $7 million to Seton Hill University.

Both schools announced the grants Thursday.

CMU called its $30 million gift "the largest private foundation grant in CMU's history" although it has received larger gifts, notably $265 million by the now late William S. Dietrich II, a philanthropist and former steel executive, in 2011.

Seton Hill said $7 million is the largest gift in the university's history. The next-largest gift is $5 million in a bequest from Seton Hill alumna Carol Ann Reichgut and was received in 2009 and 2010.

At CMU, the grant will be used to "dramatically expand its strategic initiative to address energy research, education and innovation" and will enhance the Wilton E. Scott Institute for Energy Innovation's efforts to coordinate activities throughout the university aimed at "improving energy efficiency and developing new, clean, affordable and sustainable energy sources," a news release stated.

The grant will support energy research projects, faculty and student recruitment; and the building of the Sherman and Joyce Bowie Scott Hall, which will be the home of the Scott Institute.

"Developing sustainable energy solutions is of fundamental importance for America and the world, and this gift will play a key role in helping the university and the Scott Institute solve some of our most important energy challenges," CMU President Jared L. Cohon said in a news release.

The Richard King Mellon Foundation gave $25 million to CMU in 2007 for life sciences initiatives.

CMU has more than 12,000 students.

At Seton Hill, the grant will support the construction of a new Health Sciences Center on the main campus in Greensburg.

"On a campus like ours, it is a life-changer," said Seton Hill president JoAnne Boyle. "It's a stamp of approval."

Groundbreaking for the $21 million building may be later this year, with completion planned for spring 2015.

Other gifts are supporting the center as well, including a $1.5 million gift from the Katherine Mabis McKenna Foundation, a $750,000 gift from an anonymous donor and $3 million from trustees, alumni and friends.

The 52,000-square-foot center is part of a $75 million planned campus expansion and renovation already under way.

Seton Hill has an enrollment of about 2,600.

Seton Hill now has 500 students in the undergraduate health sciences programs and the graduate physician assistant program.

Through a partnership with the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, Seton Hill has some reserved pre-med spaces for students who start at Seton Hill and want to complete a doctor of osteopathic medicine at LECOM.

In addition to the Seton Hill enrollment, about 400 LECOM students take classes on the Seton Hill campus.


Education writer Eleanor Chute: or 412-263-1955.


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