Catholic University has received $47 million in gifts to support business education and other academic programs, a philanthropic bonanza for the school that includes a record donation from a California couple.
The $15 million donation to Catholic from the Busch Family Foundation will renovate an academic building, Maloney Hall, to house the university’s business school, according to an announcement Tuesday afternoon. That school, in turn, will be renamed the Tim and Steph Busch School of Business and Economics. Tim Busch, a businessman from Irvine, Calif., is a university trustee.
Another $32 million in gifts, from five donors, will support several related initiatives.
Among the five is the Charles Koch Foundation — the conservative political activist’s philanthropic organization — which pledged $10 million to the university. That matches the sum that Koch’s foundation pledged to George Mason University recently for its law school in Northern Virginia, which has been renamed the Antonin Scalia Law School in honor of the late Supreme Court justice.
The Busch gift is nearly double Catholic’s previous donation record — $8 million — a total reached twice previously, the university said.
Tim Busch, founder and chief executive of Pacific Hospitality Group and The Busch Firm, will soon wrap up a 12-year run on the university’s Board of Trustees.
“We are committed to supporting Catholic University’s vision for business education which integrates principled entrepreneurship and Catholic social teaching in a distinctive way,” Busch said in a statement. “Students at the school of business and economics learn how businesses can be highly profitable and innovative, while also meeting the needs of communities and promoting human flourishing.”
Catholic President John Garvey said the Busch gift showed “unparalleled support for the unique approach of our business school.” He credited the Busch family for helping to attract other major donors. “We are immensely grateful for their partnership and all that they have done to advance the university,” he said.
Other donors contributing to the Catholic announcement were the Arthur and Carlyse Ciocca Charitable Foundation, with a $10 million pledge; Joe Della Ratta, a Catholic graduate in 1953 ($5 million); an anonymous donor ($5 million); and the Blanford Charitable Gift Fund ($2 million).
Catholic, founded under a papal charter in 1887, has about 6,700 students, including 3,600 undergraduates. The university in Northeast Washington is overseen by a board that includes numerous cardinals, archbishops and bishops.
Catholic has offered business and economics education for more than a century, but the subjects were elevated to the status of a full-fledged school within the university in 2013.
The gifts announced Tuesday will fund the Maloney Hall renovation, academic programs in the business and economics school and a new Institute for Human Ecology. The latter unit takes its name for a concept that Pope Francis has promoted, encompassing the study of the relationships of human beings to one another and the world around them.
John Hardin, director of university relations for the Charles Koch Foundation, said the philanthropy based in Arlington, Va., has spread its gifts among hundreds of colleges and universities to support study of the relationship between freedom and prosperity. Charles Koch, 80, of Wichita, Kan., is well known as a donor to conservative political causes. But the foundation’s higher education gifts are not tied to a political agenda, Hardin said.
Support for Catholic’s business school and the Institute for Human Ecology “fit right within our mission,” Hardin said.