University of Dayton gets $12.5 million gift

A $12.5 million gift for the University of Dayton from the George and Amanda Hanley Foundation will be used to establish the Hanley Sustainability Institute.

The gift, the largest in university history, is “an investment in the future of the planet” and will position the university as a national leader in sustainability education, UD President Dan Curran said Friday.

The university is launching a campaign to raise additional money from foundations, corporations and other donors to bring total funding from the institute to $25 million, according to information from the school.

The Hanley Sustainability Institute will integrate sustainability education into UD’s entire curriculum and will impact science, business engineering, social sciences, humanities, education law and human rights, according to information from UD.

Curran said sustainability is part of the university’s long-range strategy. He pointed to several examples including:

* New construction being LEED certified;

* Having one of the largest food composting programs in the nation;

* Diverting more than 1,000 tons of waste from landfills;

* Graduate students working on innovative alternative fuel sources.

The Hanleys said UD’s leadership in sustainability issues were a driver in their decision to establish the institute.

Amanda Hanley said she believes universities should be drivers in the sustainability movement, “advancing innovation and practicing stewardship at a deeper level. We’re banking on UD because of their forward leadership in making sustainability a strategic focus.”

George Hanley, a 1977 UD grad and member of the Board of Trustees, said the gift is about the students and giving them opportunities to push sustainability forward.

The Hanleys, long-time supporters of the university, have previously supported student scholarships in minority engineering and law. In 2007, the established the Hanley Trading Center in the university’s school of business administration.

George Hanley has been involved in the trading business for more than 35 years. He also is a member at the Chicago Board of Trade and Chicago Mercantile exchange, now CME Group. He is a co-founder and principal of Level 5 Trading. Amanda Hanley is an environmental advocate who has been working toward sustainable solutions for more than 25 years, according to a release.

The new Hanley Institute will include real world projects and will involve community partners. One project Curran mentioned was an urban agriculture demonstration project in Dayton. The school also will hold national conferences and establish research fellowships for students and faculty from all disciplines, he said.

Curran said sustainability fits with the school’s Catholic, Marianist tradition.

“We will work together to make a difference in the lives of others in ways we cannot even imagine today,” Curran said.

“This will help make a difference in ways we cannot even imagine,” UD President Dan Curran said.

Ryan Schuessler, a senior in mechanical engineering and director of Sustainability Week for the school, said student interest in sustainability is at an all-time high.

” Students are looking for more ways to go beyond the classroom and beyond graduation day to incorporate sustainability into their life’s work,” he said. “The Hanley Institute will prepare students, no matter what their major, for careers that call for deep understanding of how sustainability, energy and the environment are interrelated.”

First-year student Maggie McGauran said she came to the event because she was intrigued about what the big announcement was. Although she is undecided, she said she wants to learn more about sustainability initiatives at the school.

“It’s unbelievable. It’s so generous. It will be really nice for the community,” she said. “I would be interested…to see what this opportunity will mean for students here.”

Amanda Hanley said she is inspired by the students at the university.

“You are going to be bringing us the solutions we desperately need in making this world more sustainable,” she said.

To date, the largest gift to the university has been $10.5 million from the Society of Mary (Marianists) in 2000. It was earmarked for scholarships and for Catholic, Marianist academics and activities. Other large gifts have ranged from $7.5 million to $10 million.

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