Salisbury University received the largest financial gift in its 80-year history yesterday, an $8 million donation from a foundation run by the family of one of its favorite sons and most consistent backers: poultry magnate Frank Perdue.
The money will help pay for a new $45 million business school building on the Salisbury campus where Perdue attended classes in the 1930s.
The state has pledged to pay $33 million over the next five years, and the Salisbury University Foundation will raise the rest, a university spokesman said.
The donation comes during the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Franklin P. Perdue School of Business, which was launched in part with $2.5 million from the home-grown businessman who became famous for television commercials marketing his family's poultry. Perdue contributed an additional $1 million in 1994 when the school's graduate and undergraduate programs were accredited.
The business school, now housed in a wing of the ornate Holloway Hall, the university's oldest building, is the largest of four privately endowed schools at the university. More than 1,500 students are enrolled in undergraduate and graduate business programs. Total enrollment at the university is 7,000.
The company, founded in 1920 by Arthur W. Perdue and headquartered in Salisbury, remains in the family's control. It is one of the largest poultry processors in the country.
The donation was announced by Perdue's son, Jim, who earned an MBA at the university. Frank Perdue died a year ago today.