Editorial | Another major gift

Editorial | Another major gift

Engineering research and study at the University of Illinois has received a big boost.

Private donations continue to drive academic advances at the University of Illinois, the latest example being last week's announcement of a$100 million gift to the College of Engineering.

The Grainger Foundation's gift brings that organization's donations to the UI to more than $300 million.

That's an astounding amount of money. It's also an excellent reason to give the college a new name — the Grainger College of Engineering.

The gift is unrestricted, meaning that college administrators can direct it wherever they think it will do the most good. Obviously, it will benefit, among other things, student scholarships, research and faculty hiring.

This donation cannot help but lift the UI's engineering college, already one of the best in the nation, to a new level of excellence and opportunity.

If the name Grainger sounds familiar — it should — that's because William Grainger, who studied engineering here roughly 100 years ago, is one of the UI's most distinguished graduates in engineering or any other field.

He founded W.W. Grainger Inc., an industrial supply company that has a worldwide reach. Grainger's business success laid the groundwork for his philanthropic endeavors through the Grainger Foundation, now overseen by William Grainger's son, David.

The Grainger Foundation's donations have underwritten campus initiatives too numerous to mention. Perhaps best known to the general public is the Grainger Engineering Library.

The underlying theme of all, however, is to advance world-changing research and make it easier for talented students to excel.

In that context, the gift by the Grainger Foundation is not just to the UI, but to all of the people of this state and beyond who will benefit from the great work done at the Grainger College of Engineering.

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