Donated land brings revenue, research to college

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LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — The University of Kansas is benefiting from land donations that help raise money for the school and offer research opportunities.

The school's endowment, the nonprofit fundraising arm of the university, owns about 45,000 acres of land in Kansas and other states, including Oklahoma, Colorado and Wyoming. The school recently received a private donation of a 120-acre ranch and $2 million to maintain and enhance the property.

"KU is fortunate to benefit from a strong tradition of donors who have chosen to, in a way, keep their land 'in the family' by giving their land to KU Endowment to support their goals for KU," Dale Seuferling, the endowment's president, said. "For many, this is preferable to having the land sold or auctioned off to settle their estates."

The endowment's spokeswoman, Rosita Elizalde-McCoy, told the Lawrence Journal-World ( ) that much of its land is farmed. Income from it goes toward the university as specified by the donors' intentions. Over the past five years, farm and mineral holdings have averaged $3 million in income per year, she said.

The largest land holdings are in western Kansas, where the university's endowment owns 6,812 acres in Stanton County and 6,357 acres in Morton County. That land is generally used to grow crops, including wheat, corn, soybeans and sunflowers.

Donated land also includes the University of Kansas Field Station, which is used for research by the Kansas Biological Survey.

The Field Station "provides a tremendous opportunity as an outdoor laboratory to look at various processes of nature on a long term as well as short-term basis," said Ed Martinko, director of the Kansas Biological Survey.

Kansas State University has about 12,500 acres of land, according to the Kansas State Foundation. For years the foundation sold donated land, but decided five years ago to keep it if it was deemed a better strategy for the school, said Susan Berhow, interim communications director for the foundation.


Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World,

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