University receives $5 million anonymously

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February 8, 2008

4:17 PM

__Donation arrives in unmarked envelopes, sent via U.S. mail__

Temple University received a surprise last week when two checks worth a total of $5 million were found in the mail.

p. The two letters, one containing $1 million check and the other containing a $4 million check, were each placed in unmarked, regular envelopes and sent via standard U.S. mail. Each envelope was addressed to the executive director of annual giving at the university. The signature on the check revealed that it was signed by a bank representative of a Wells Fargo branch somewhere in Arizona.

p. Stuart Sullivan, the university’s vice president of university advancement, proceeded to follow up on the checks to make sure they were authentic and not some “bizarre student prank.”

p. However, since they were cashier’s checks issued by the bank, Sullivan deduced that the checks were probably genuine.

p. “It’s not unusual for donors to want to remain anonymous and it’s not unusual to receive large checks like this,” Sullivan told the Philadelphia Daily News.

p. However, Sullivan admitted that the donation method was quite unique.

p. “It is completely unusual not to receive prior notice from the donors, or representatives of the donors, that the checks are in the mail,” he said.

p. The university made further contact with the bank to attempt to discern the identity of the mystery donor; however, the donor requested to retain anonymity.

p. Moreover, the donor stated that the university could have the money as long as $4 million were used to endow a scholarship for women and minorities while $1 million could be used for whatever the university wished. Also, the donors asked the school to give regular updates through the Wells Fargo officer as to how the institution was spending the money.

p. The checks have already been put to good use, as Temple University is currently conducting its first comprehensive fundraising campaign. With the addition of the two anonymous donations, the university has now raised $285 million toward its $350 million goal.

p. As for the addressee of the letters, Executive Director of Annual Giving Nicole Steiner was more than surprised.

p. “She had never seen checks of that size anytime in her lifetime,” Sullivan said. “It was quite a thrill for her.”

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