Oregon State University officials on Thursday announced a pair of multimillion gifts to the university, including a $5 million gift from an anonymous donor that is the largest single gift ever made to OSU’s arts programs.

Also announced on Thursday was a $7 million gift from Peter and Rosalie Johnson to help create a new educational and research facility at OSU’s College of Engineering.

Peter Johnson is a 1955 engineering alumnus from OSU whose Tekmax Inc. company revolutionized battery manufacturing equipment. “Oregon State was instrumental in setting me on the right path,” said Johnson in a press release issued by OSU. The Tangent company was acquired in 2004.

OSU President Ed Ray made the announcements in a speech Thursday at a “state of the university” speech in Portland. Ray also said that The Campaign for OSU, the university’s first campus-wide fundraising drive, had surpassed $900 million toward its $1 billion goal.

Leveraging an earlier $10 million gift from an anonymous donor, $3 million in additional private funds, and possible matching state funds, the planned $40 million facility for the College of Engineering will address space needs for engineering faculty, lab space for interdisciplinary research, and a center focused on improved recruitment and retention of engineering students. Construction will rely on legislative approval of state bonds during this legislative session.

The anonymous $5 million gift to OSU’s School of Arts and Communication will allow the university to establish endowments for four faculty and staff positions, including support for tMarion Rossi, the director of the School of Arts and Communication, and two professors. The gift also will help pay for renovations to OSU’s Black Box Theater in Withycombe Hall and will help develop new graduate and undergraduate degree programs.

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