Former Panthers owner, founder Richardson donates $150M to alma mater, Wofford College

SPARTANBURG, S.C. — Former Carolina Panthers owner and founder Jerry Richardson donated $150 million to his alma mater, Wofford College, which is the largest gift in the college’s history.

The donation is for an endowment focused on need-based scholarships and experiences for Wofford students.

Wofford exceeded $262.6 million in contributions from Richardson, which is one of the largest individual contributions to a college or university in the country.

He has given $257.3 million since 2014 to the “For Wofford” campaign and, and his most recent donation is the largest single campaign gift made to a national liberal arts college.

The $150 million endowment gift will focus on four areas:

  • Need-based financial aid that will affect hundreds of students each year
  • Off-campus U.S. and global study opportunities; student and faculty research; internships and entrepreneurial learning opportunities.
  • An initiative to transition all the college’s support staff to a minimum wage of $15 per hour
  • A special fund for the maintenance, repair and improvement of campus buildings

“Mr. Richardson’s loyalty to Wofford College and his commitment to the student experience have been a constant since he came to Spartanburg from Fayetteville, on a modest football scholarship in 1954,” said Wofford President Nayef Samhat in a news release. “After he graduated, he gave even when he had very little to give, and throughout his life’s journey, he has remembered his alma mater without fail. This gift is Mr. Richardson once again changing the game for Wofford College students, and we are forever grateful for his love of our college and the countless ways this gift will impact our students, our community and ultimately our world.”

Richardson has credited his Wofford College career several times with helping him succeed in business and in the NFL, the college stated.

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“Coming to Wofford in 1954 as an 18-year-old with a partial scholarship was a turning point in my life,” Richardson said. “It is difficult to put into words how grateful I am for that opportunity and how proud I am of the tremendous progress the college has made since then. My hope is that many more young people will now be able to aim high regardless of their background or financial means.”

Richardson has also contributed 14 capital projects on the campus since 1979, including the 3,400-seat Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium, the Rosalind Sallenger Richardson Center for the Arts and the Jerome Johnson Richardson Hall.

Wofford College, established in 1854, is a four-year, residential liberal arts college in Spartanburg, South Carolina and has 1,775 undergraduates.