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Notre Dame alumnus pledges $100 million unrestricted gift to the University

| Tuesday, October 24, 2017

The University will receive an unrestricted gift of $100 million from an alumnus after his death, according to a Tuesday CNBC report.

The report said 1978 Notre Dame graduate Kenneth Ricci has promised the donation to the University in order to “set aside some money for his family and their foundation while also resolving the transfer of ownership in his business after his death” if his three kids do not want to take over any of the businesses.

A member of the Air Force ROTC and Band of the Fighting Irish during his time at Notre Dame and a current member of the Board of Trustees, Ricci said “the one thing [Notre Dame doesn’t] have is money they can do what they want with,” according to the report.

Ricci’s pledge comes one year after he and his wife donated $5 million to the University for Ricci Family Fields, the turf fields next to Stepan Center for the University marching band and RecSports to use.

According to the report, Ricci’s pledge is particularly unusual not just because of the amount of money he has promised to donate, but also due to the unrestricted aspect of the gift. The report said there were only two $100 million gifts to universities in 2016, and the number of unrestricted gifts “makes up less than 10 percent of gifts” to universities.

“There aren’t many people who give this much unrestricted,” Greg Dugard, senior director of the Office of Gift Planning, said in the report. “I’m not aware of it anywhere in higher ed.”

According to the report, the University will receive the gift as a $100 million stake in Ricci’s private business, Directional Aviation Capital. After Ricci’s death, Notre Dame “will be responsible for selling the business assets and returning any proceeds above $100 million to the family.” The report also said the amount of the pledge may increase “depending on growth in the value of the businesses” between now and then.

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