A Hilton Head Island resident has pledged a $20 million donation to his Pennsylvania alma mater -- the largest donation in the school's history, according to a news release from the university.
Bob Malesardi's gift will be used to support financial aid programs at Bucknell University, a private university in central Pennsylvania Malesardi graduated from in 1945, school president John Bravman announced in a news release Jan. 26. Malesardi's most recent contribution to the school was the largest single pledge in the university's 170-year history, the release said.
As a result of the pledge, Bucknell will name its academic quadrangle at the heart of campus after Malesardi, the release said.
A scholarship fund at Bucknell already bears Malesardi's name, used to help students in need, university spokesman Andy Hirsch said. Malesardi and his wife Doris, an Elmira College graduate, are frequent donors to their alma maters.
Malesardi declined an interview request through the university. Attempts Wednesday and Thursday to reach him for comment were unsuccessful.
Hirsch said the specifics on how the donation will be used for financial aid are still being ironed out. The university plans to create a matching gift program to raise more money to support students at Bucknell, he said.
Bravman called the donation a "transformative commitment to Bucknell" in the release.
"This gift will quite literally change the lives of an untold number of students, and we are profoundly grateful for Bob and Doris' support," he said.
Malesardi enrolled at Bucknell when he was 16 years old, graduating with a degree in accounting. He was also a member of the school's wrestling team, their Navy V-12 program and the Sigma Chi fraternity, the release said.
Malesardi served on the university's board of trustees from 1972 to 1988 and donated to support the school's library. In addition to the scholarship fund and the future academic quadrangle renaming, a dorm on campus is already named after Malesardi, Hirsch said.
Professionally, Malesardi owned an accounting firm and developed real estate, including co-owning the Four Seasons Resort in Palm Beach, Fla., the release said.
Much of that success can be traced back to his time at Bucknell, he said.
"This is one of the most meaningful and gratifying decisions of my life," Malesardi said in the release. "All of the success I've experienced is in some way rooted in the education I received at Bucknell ... .This pledge is the culmination of my 75-year relationship with Bucknell."
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