Updated 4/4/18 with additional details.
Arkansas State University in Jonesboro has received a ‘historic’ gift from a Business College alumnus.
Neil Griffin donated $10 million to the College of Business. At a public ceremony Tuesday, ASU System President Dr. Charles Welch read a letter from Governor Asa Hutchinson, who was unable to attend the event. Hutchinson expressed his gratitude for Griffin’s gift.
"I am excited and appreciative to see members of the business community invest in Arkansas," Welch read, "and I am particularly inspired when it is accomplished in ways to elevate citizens through education. "
"To have a native Arkansan remember his Alma Mater with, not only an impactful gift, but also with a thoughtful one speaks volume about Neil Griffin. While this is the largest gift by an individual in Arkansas State University history, it is structured to benefit both faculty and students."
Griffin, a 1948 graduate, said that he hopes the university will use his gift to prepare students and faculty for a rapidly changing economic future. He encouraged the students in the crowd at the public presentation.
"You guys who are going to college, I know it’s tough [and] maybe you’re taking out a lot of loans," Griffin said. "But, I want to tell you that there’s no way to really change your life without an education. You’ve got to get it. I'm so pleased to be able to give money to Arkansas State, to not only help the students but also to make sure you have a high-quality faculty to teach you."
The Board of Trustees passed a resolution to name the College of Business after Griffin, which is now called the "Neil Griffin College of Business."
The Northeast Arkansas native has given multiple times to the university and to other philanthropic causes. In 2012, he gave $5 million to the university to establish an endowment program. Griffin now resides in Kerrville, Texas.
Watch the announcement below.
Here's footage of the public ceremony.
Editor’s Note: Arkansas State University is the license holder for KASU 91.9 FM.