Ex-wife of Amazon CEO gives Tuskegee University $20M, largest gift in history of institution
MacKenzie Scott, who for 25 years was married to Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos, gave $20 million to Tuskegee University in recent days. The donation is the largest gift in the history of the school.
The Tuskegee donation was one in a string of contributions from Scott that totaled $1.7 billion. Scott has pledged to give away more than half of her $36 billion fortune during her lifetime. She is currently estimated to be the fourth-richest woman in the world.
“[W]ith this investment from Ms. Scott, we will be able to unfold the next phase of our mission in ways we simply could not have considered before,” Tuskegee President Lily McNair wrote in a statement.
“We will focus on student scholarships, faculty and curriculum development, interdisciplinary programs, and campus infrastructure improvements,” added McNair.
Tuskegee University is a historically black university about 40 minutes east of Montgomery that serves around 3,000 students. Famous in many circles for being the location where the Tuskegee Airmen trained, the University was founded by Booker T. Washington and was home to George Washington Carver.
Scott said she targeted organizations promoting racial equality, LGBTQ+ equity, climate change and other causes she deemed important with her donations.
“The gift will allow us to become the Tuskegee of the 21st century – a university that integrates knowledge, leadership and service to solve the problems of a global, modern society,” concluded McNair.