Grosses Donate $23.5 Million
William H. Gross '66, manager of the world's largest bond mutual fund, and his wife, Sue J. Gross, are giving $23.5 million to the university, $20 million of it to provide financial aid based on merit and need. Gross, who was an A.B. Duke Scholar, is the chief investment officer and a founder of the Newport Beach, California-based Pacific Investment Management Company. The internationally known investor is responsible for nearly $600 billion worldwide.
Gross was born in Middletown, Ohio, and was raised there and in California. After graduating from Duke, he served in the Navy. While a patient in Duke Hospital following an automobile accident, Gross read a book on beating the odds in gambling and subsequently won in Las Vegas the money he used to attend business school at UCLA. The Grosses have two children, including Jennifer L. Gross '97.
Fifteen-million dollars of the Grosses' gift will endow undergraduate scholarships, and another $5 million will endow scholarships for medical students. The $20 million the Grosses are providing for financial aid equals a 1998 gift from Melinda French Gates '86, M.B.A. '87 and her husband, Bill Gates, as the largest from individuals for scholarships in the university's history. The $3.5-million balance of the gift will be used to support faculty members in Duke's Fuqua School of Business and other priorities.
The gift will establish three new endowments. The William and Sue Gross Honorary Undergraduate Scholarships will be awarded to students "with great intellectual capacity and significant financial need." Recipients will come from families with incomes below the median of students receiving financial aid at Duke the preceding year. The first awards will be made in the fall of 2005. When fully endowed, the Gross Scholarships will provide about twenty scholarships annually.
The William and Sue Gross Honorary Scholarships in the School of Medicine will provide financial aid for students pursuing either an M.D. degree or joint M.D.-Ph.D. degrees in the medical school. Those scholarships will go to students whose families have an adjusted gross income in the lowest quartile for families applying for need-based support at the medical school. Awards may range from full to partial tuition.
The William and Sue Gross Distinguished Research Scholars program in the Fuqua School of Business is designed to help attract, retain, and develop a top business-school faculty. Awards will primarily support rising full professors for terms of up to four years. Each Gross Distinguished Research Scholar will become a member of the Fuqua Society of Fellows, a body of scholars that will convene regularly to discuss research and issues in business management.