University of Missouri alumnus Jim Pace announced a $1.5 million donation Friday to help the university’s business operations.
Pace, a descendant of one of Mizzou’s founding families, donated because he knows the university is under increasing financial pressures, and keeping college affordable is important to him.
Pace said he believes that in today’s world, universities have a fragile and unstable business model, and he wants to help make changes from within. He says that while gifts for things like scholarships and buildings are helpful, people need a different view of how to run universities.
“Hopefully more people get on the bandwagon and approach the university from an operating business side,” Pace said. “You got to have good core solid financial operations, or you're not going to succeed.”
Rhonda Gibler, Vice Chancellor for Finance, said this donation is different than what the university usually receives.
“It’s fairly unique in that most of our giving is to the schools and colleges for very understandable reasons,” she said. “And this gift is actually to the folks who are behind the scenes trying to make the university successful every day.”
Pace gave part of the donation in cash in 2016, which was used to improve business services. In the next fiscal year, Gibler said the money will go towards supporting the Chancellor’s resource allocation committee, improving user-friendly websites, and training over 4,000 people on financial operations.
Pace said he was waiting to announce his donation because he wanted to wait until he could see specifically what progress the university was making with the money.