University of Nebraska-Kearney officials have announced the largest single gift in the history of the school.
The estate of Carol Cope, a philanthropist from Kearney, has given $12.6 million to the University of Nebraska Foundation to benefit both UNK and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
UNK will receive $11.6 million and UNL will receive the remaining one million dollars.
The money has been donated to fund scholarships, academic programs and pay for academic positions.
“This is the largest single gift in the history of the University of Nebraska at Kearney, and we are truly grateful for the generosity of the Copes,” said UNK Chancellor Doug Kristensen said in a written statement released by his office. “This gift will forever change this institution.”
The money will be used to establish endowments to pay for yearly scholarships for students, awards for faculty, and academic programs.
Cope died a year ago, just shy of her 103rd birthday.
Cope earned a degree from the University of Nebraska. She taught music in North Platte and Lincoln, eventually moving to California. She and her husband Ron owned Claussens Shoes and Famous Shoe Stores. They made their fortune investing in early Berkshire-Hathaway stock and farmland.
Ron Cope was a former Nebraska state legislator. He died in 1992.
They have been generous to UNK before. They helped fund the Ron and Carol Cope Nebraska Safety Center, located at the University of Nebraska-Kearney and established an endowment for the UNK Alumni Association. They also gave generously to the UNK sports programs.