The University of Akron has received a $20 million gift from the estate of a longtime community volunteer and philanthropist, making it the largest donation in the university's history.
UA President Matthew Wilson made the announcement during the University of Akron Foundation's annual meeting early Thursday afternoon. The massive gift comes from the estate of Jean Hower Taber who passed away at the age of 94 this past summer.
"What Jean has been able to do for the university is truly going to be enabling and empowering our students to go out and do great things, particularly those who come from limited means," said Wilson during a news conference.
About two-thirds of the gift will support scholarships for honor students and students studying audiology. The remaining amount will help support maintenance of the Hower House, which was gifted to the university by Taber’s father, John B. Hower, in 1973.
Taber is the great granddaughter of John H. Hower, one of the founders of the Quaker Oats Company and the builder of the 1871 Victorian Hower House.
Kathy Hower, Taber's sister-in-law, called Thursday's announcement "incredible" and a memorable moment to remember Taber as a "kind and generous soul."
Prior to the most recent donation, Taber has gifted more than $7.7 million to UA over the years.
Taber's family members were among those who attended Thursday's announcement.
The first scholarships made possible by the donation will be awarded to students in the fall semester of 2019.
UA officials estimate that up to 50 students will benefit from the scholarship each year.