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DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — The University of Dayton says it has received a $12.5 million gift aimed at making it a national leader in sustainability education.
The school says it's the largest single donation in the Catholic university's history. The George and Amanda Hanley Foundation gift will go to the Hanley Sustainability Institute.
The school says the institute will help prepare students for workplace skills and civic leadership roles in sustainable living in the future. School officials plan also to extend the focus beyond environmental sciences to include multiple disciplines.
University officials say they are launching a campaign to raise more funds to double the institute's funding.
"It's a call to action for the university as a whole to infuse our commitment to sustainability throughout everything we do," President Daniel J. Curran said Friday.
The school plans to develop a graduate certificate in sustainability, to create an urban agriculture demonstration project, to hold conferences on sustainability education, and establish research fellows and scholars-in-resident, among other goals.
"We are thrilled with UD's national leadership and hope one day interdisciplinary sustainability education will run deep at every university," Amanda Hanley said.
The Hanleys have long supported the university. Earlier gifts have included funding for scholarships in minority engineering and law. George Hanley is a 1977 business graduate and is on the university's board of trustees.
The donation drew praise from the Sierra Club environmental organization.
"It's rare to hear about philanthropists who directly support college students' environmental education, which is even more important than supporting brick-and-mortar sustainability improvements on campus, since it'll empower young people to create a more sustainable world," said Avital Andrews, who oversees Sierra magazine's rankings of the greenest U.S. schools.