A $3.4 million gift to the Massey University Foundation from an anonymous donor is thought to be the largest single donation in Massey’ 90-year history.
The foundation is the university’s registered charity, supporting students, staff and development of university facilities.
Massey Vice-Chancellor Professor Jan Thomas says she is in equal part amazed at the size of the gift and humbled by the generosity of the donor, who insisted on complete anonymity.
“All donors to the foundation are invited to select how the money should be used,” Professor Thomas says. “It may be on scholarships for students, special projects such as restoration of heritage buildings, or particular parts of Massey, such as the Wildbase wildlife hospital. In this case the donor asked that the gift be invested in a way that supports postgraduate scholarships.” Postgraduate qualifications include master’s and doctoral degrees.
“All I can say is thank you so much and please accept my assurance every cent will always be used for the benefit of students.”
The money will be invested in perpetuity in the foundation’s endowment fund, currently worth about $30 million, meaning only the proceeds of the investments are ever spent.
“Postgraduate students often don’t qualify for Government allowances and many then struggle with the demands of working to support themselves while studying,” Professor Thomas says. “For them the financial support of a scholarship allows them to reach their potential and is sometimes the difference between being able to study or not.”
Massey University enrols about 32,500 students each year from more than 130 countries at its campuses in Auckland, Manawatū and Wellington as well as New Zealand’s largest university distance education programme, which has students throughout the world.