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FSU Receives $100M To Create New Entrepreneurship School

Florida State University
Credit Florida State University

Christmas came early to Florida State University. President John Thrasher unwrapped a $100 million  gift Friday to start a new School of Entrepreneurship. The money comes from the foundation of Jim Moran.

Moran was a billionaire car dealer and philanthropist who, according to the family website, started off by saving $360 to purchase a gas station. Now his widow, Jan Moran and The Jim Moran Foundation are giving $100 million to Florida State University to create the Jim Moran School of Entrepreneurship.

“The gift is truly transformational," Florida State University President John Thrasher said. "And the entrepreneurial education in Florida and the nation, I believe, will be significantly enhanced at Florida State University.”

The money will flow to FSU over 20 years, with $4 million given annually and a $20 million charitable bequest. This is the largest gift given to FSU and it tieswith the University of Miami for the largest gift given to a Florida university. It substantially increases the money given by the Moran's to FSU.

“Added to the donors previous gifts to Florida State University, the new gift brings their gifts and pledges to FSU to more than $109 million," said  FSU Foundation Tom Jennings, who also serves as vice president for Advancement.

He says the Moran's have been giving to Florida State for 20 years. Most of the new money would continue supporting the existing the Jim Moran Institute for Global Entrepreneurship. FSU hopes to have 700 students enrolled in the Jim Moran School of Entrepreneurship three years after its up in running, which is expected to be in 2018. The school would be located in a stand-alone building to be located in downtown Tallahassee near the Capitol.

Gifts by major donors to universities have come under scrutiny for what critics say are "strings" that impact how what is taught in the classroom. FSU had a similar issue when it accepted funding from the Koch Foundation. However, FSU President John Thrasher says this gift does not come with any requirements on what is taught or who is hired.

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas. She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. When she’s not working, Lynn spends her time watching sci-fi and action movies, writing her own books, going on long walks through the woods, traveling and exploring antique stores. Follow Lynn Hatter on Twitter: @HatterLynn.