McMurry $5 Million Gift Creates Historic College of Business Endowment at UW

April 3, 2008
Two men and a woman talking
Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal and UW benefactors and philanthropists Neil and Susan McMurry of Casper for the McMurry Foundation's announcement Thursday at the College of Business.

Improved student experiences and stronger business school curriculum are among areas that will benefit from a $5 million McMurry Foundation endowment gift to the University of Wyoming College of Business.

Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal and UW President Tom Buchanan joined longtime UW benefactors and philanthropists Neil "Mick" McMurry and Susan "Susie" McMurry of Casper for the McMurry Foundation's announcement Thursday at the College of Business.

"The McMurry Foundation is proud to be a part of all the resources required to make a good College of Business a great one," says Mick McMurry.

"The philanthropy of Mick and Susie McMurry is extraordinary, and the University of Wyoming is fortunate to once again be on the receiving end of their generosity," Buchanan says. "Mick and Susie only support efforts they believe in, and they believe the surest way to invest in the future of the state is in the education of its young people. This gift will make a difference to the UW College of Business and its students for years to come."

The McMurrys' gift to the College of Business matches the largest endowment contribution for an academic program in UW's history. Last fall Jim Nielson created a $5 million endowment for the director of the UW School of Energy Resources.

The state of Wyoming will match the McMurry gift through its UW endowment challenge program to create a $10 million endowment. Through the program, endowment gifts of $50,000 or more to UW are matched dollar-for-dollar by the state.

College of Business Dean Brent Hathaway says the McMurry gift will help to improve student experiences, curriculum development, faculty recruiting and enhancement, and the college's outreach efforts.

"The magnitude of this gift will help change the college," Hathaway says. "Thanks to the incredible support of Gov. Dave Freudenthal, the Wyoming State Legislature, President Tom Buchanan, and senior UW administration members, the McMurrys' generous commitment will be used to accelerate excellence in business education in Wyoming, not build buildings."

The endowment will be among the most highly valued and strategically useful private investments for the College of Business, Hathaway adds. The endowment will provide a steady stream of funding that enables the college to respond quickly to emerging opportunities and to pursue core initiatives. Additionally, the endowment will allow the college's leadership team to invest in programs where the need is greatest and the potential for success is highest.

The McMurrys have donated $7 million to numerous areas on the UW campus, including UW Athletics, the College of Education, the University Plaza and Conference Center, the UW/Casper College Center and the Wyoming Technology Business Center.

In 2005, a key $5 million gift (doubled to $10 million through the state match) to UW Athletics from the McMurry family and John and Mari Ann Martin resulted in naming War Memorial Stadium's playing surface, now called Jonah Field. The gift also helped fund other construction projects identified in the Strategic Plan for Intercollegiate Athletics.

"Mick and Susie continue to transform our university," says Ben Blalock, UW Foundation president. "Their total giving to UW will now surpass $12 million. It is impossible to fully express to Mick and Susie the depth of gratitude that those of us who work here at UW, and our students, feel. The McMurrys' historic generosity will continue to touch the lives of our faculty and students for generations to come."

The McMurrys' generosity has already delivered UW $5.7 million in state matching funds. After the gift to the College of Business is realized, the McMurrys' philanthropy will provide more than $22 million to UW in gifts and state matching funds.

The McMurrys' gift tops off an impressive fund-raising period for the College of Business, Hathaway says. The Daniels Fund last month awarded the College of Business $3 million for the Bill Daniels Chair of Business Ethics. The UW endowment challenge program helps create a $6 million endowment for the college.

For more information contact Kent Noble, UW College of Business assistant dean, at (307) 766-3043 or e-mail

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