Henry Bloch of H&R Block fame is giving $32 million to the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s business school, the largest outright gift in the university’s history, university officials said yesterday.
The gift, from the co-founder of the tax preparation firm, will pay for the Henry W. Bloch Executive Hall for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at a school which already bears his name. It is scheduled to open in fall 2013.
While not among the largest gifts ever to a business school, Bloch’s $32 million is a big one. The record was set four years ago when David Booth gave $300 million to the B-school at University to Chicago which renamed the place the Booth School of Business. Booth, a 1971 Chicago MBA, built his investment firm, Dimensional Fund Advisors on principles he learned from Eugene Fama at the school.
Before Booth’s gift, the largest gift to a business school was $105 million, given to Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business in 2006 by Philip H. Knight, founder and chairman of Nike. Other large gifts to business schools include $100 million to the University of Michigan in 2004 from Stephen M. Ross, $100 million to Columbia Business School by Henry Kravis last October, $85 million to the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 2007 from a combined partnership of 13 alumni, and $60 million to the Darden School at the University of Virginia from Frank Batten Sr., retired chairman and chief executive of Landmark Communications.
“We are extremely grateful to Henry Bloch for his years of support of the Bloch School of Management,” Chancellor Leo E. Morton said Thursday night (Sept. 15) before a packed auditorium at the university’s Student Union, according to local newspaper reports. “Henry had a vision when he endowed this school that one day it would lead among the nation’s best. Today we are seeing what Henry saw,” he said.
Bloch has supported the university’s School of Business since 1986, when he endowed it. He cited the success of the school’s Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation as influencing his philanthropy, and he challenged the rest of Kansas City to lend its support.
Bloch School Dean Teng-Kee Tan called the planned facility “a game-changer for how graduate and entrepreneurship education will be delivered.” He said the new mission and vision of the school “align with what this community wants and needs from its business school.”