Samford University Alum Leaves Record $100M Gift

An alumnus of Samford University in Alabama has given the school the largest gift in its history, including $95 million for scholarships.

Marvin Mann, who died at his Cary, North Carolina, home in March, left Samford a $100 million gift, the school said in a statement on Thursday. It is the largest gift to the university by a single donor and the largest gift ever made to a higher education institution in the state of Alabama by a single donor, according to the school.

Mann, a native of Springdale, Alabama, graduated from Samford in 1954. He worked for IBM for 32 years and went on to found Lexmark International Inc. in 1991. He served as chief executive officer and chairman until 1999.

The gift is expected to provide approximately $3.75 million a year for students hoping to attend Samford, the university said.

In addition to endowed scholarships, Mann donated $5 million to support the Frances Marlin Mann Center for Ethics and Leadership, which he established in 2008 in honor of his late wife, Frances. The center promotes student development and enriches teaching and scholarship in Samford's 10 academic schools, the statement said.