Kansas State University received a $60 million gift Friday from the family of longtime benefactor Jack Vanier, the largest private donation in school history, to be used for a range of academic programs along with the latest round of athletic development.
The Vanier family has donated millions over the years for upgrades at Bill Snyder Family Stadium and to endow the football head coaching position.
"Kansas State has always been a very important part of our lives," the Vanier family said in a statement provided by the school. "Our hope is this will inspire others to make their investments in this great university."
The gift earmarks $20 million for the third phase of the school's master plan for athletics, which includes a new academic learning center, strength and conditioning spaces, football offices for the coaching staff and fan amenities in the north seating bowl of the stadium. That part of the stadium already features the Vanier Football Complex, which houses the locker rooms, team meeting spaces and other spaces for the school's athletic programs.
The timeline and budget for the third phase of construction has not been announced. The school last fall unveiled the second phase, a $90 million renovation to the west side of the stadium that included a new training table and improved luxury seating.
"From the moment we arrived in 1989, members of the Vanier family have been faithful friends to the football program," Snyder said. "We are deeply grateful for this wonderful commitment."
The remaining $40 million from the Vanier family's latest gift will be spent on students, faculty, academic programs and facilities at the Manhattan and Salina campuses. They include:
— Student scholarships and fellowships in the College of Technology and Aviation at the school's Salina campus, the College of Business Administration and the Biosecurity Research Institute;
— Support for students across both campuses, including presidential scholarships and a gift for the K-State Proud Student Opportunity Awards;
— Faculty professorships and fellowships in the College of Human Ecology and the Biosecurity Research Institute, as well as professorships that may be awarded in any college;
— Excellence funds for the Biosecurity Research Institute and at the Salina campus, which allows university leaders to respond to urgent needs and emerging opportunities;
— Support for the K-State Welcome Center in the old Memorial Stadium in Manhattan, which will provide a central location for new student services, admissions, financial assistance, housing and dining services, and career and employment services.
Kansas State President Kirk Schulz, calling it an "historic day" for the university, said in a statement that "this transformational gift will benefit the students of Kansas State for generations to come."
"The impact of this gift will be wide-ranging," said Fred Cholick, president and CEO of the KSU Foundation. "It will have a hugely positive effect on both academics and athletics. The generosity and thoughtful planning that went into this gift will make a difference across the academy for students and faculty today and far into the future."