By Mike Maruk & Bailey Klingaman – Art Director & Digital Editor
On July 1, President Michael Alexander announced in an email to the community that Lasell had received its largest ever monetary donation. The $6.6 million donation was made in honor of Michal Longe (‘95), alumni of the School of Business, who passed away from cystic fibrosis in 2003.
Alexander said the donation was originally made in 2018 in the form of shares in a private New York construction company, which he declined to identify. At the time of donation, the stock was valued at approximately $2.7 million. Over the last two years, the value appreciated and Lasell was able to negotiate selling the shares back to the company for $6.6 million.
To honor this donation made in Michal Longe’s memory, Lasell and the Longe family decided to rename the business school the Michal Longe ‘95 School of Business. “It’s a recognition, it’s an honor for supporting the university in such a significant way,” Alexander said.
According to Vice President of University Advancement Chelsea Gwyther, having a named school “raises the profile of the institution,” and can attract new students and donors. According to Gwyther, the donation was an unrestricted gift, meaning Lasell has the flexibility to determine what to do with the funds. While the exact distribution of funds is still being discussed, Gwyther disclosed part of this donation would become part of the endowment.
As part of the endowment, the school will continue to save the $6.6 million, so long as they budget five percent of the returns each year for board-approved programs. “The endowment is that pool of money that the university has…we spend about five percent of that every year. With the idea that the endowment is invested in the stock market and other ventures, it will return more than five percent over time…You could look at it that each year, on average, the Longe gift will spin off about $330,000 that the university can use…and invest in students and faculty and programming. But that $6.6 million will always be there,” said Director of Communications and Stewardship David Nathan.
As for programs that could potentially receive funding in the coming years, Gwyther mentioned a laptop-loaner program, the on-campus food pantry, and the new esports business major as options.
“Right now, we’re thinking about looking for a space on campus where we can create an esports lab…but we’re looking at high end monitors, gaming consoles, innovative furniture, increased technology, and internet access…which cost money,” said Dean of the School of Business Matthew Reilly. “We would love to add opportunities for students to learn about the industry outside of the classroom, and we think that the donation is going to be able to help us to do that.”
The School of Business is planning a celebration for the donation on October 18 at Dunne House from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. According to Reilly, the celebration will include guest speakers, an appearance by the donor and the foundation that supported the donation, and School of Business alumni.
“It’s a good time to be in the School of Business, and it’s a good time to be at Lasell,” said Reilly.