Trinity University announced Thursday that it has received $25 million from alumnus Michael Neidorff and the Neidorff Family Trust, the largest donation in the university’s 150-year history.

The university will rename its business school after Neidorff, chairman and CEO of the managed health care company Centene Corp., in honor of the “transformational donation,” according to a Trinity press release. The Michael F. Neidorff School of Business will be located in the Chapman Center, which is undergoing renovations that are slated to be completed in 2023.

The $25 million will go toward providing multiple scholarships, an endowed faculty position, and completing the renovations to the Chapman Center, said Robert Scherer, dean of the business school.

“This transformative gift is going to have a transformative effect,” he said.

The updates to the business school facilities will help support the school’s experiential learning approach, which blends “theory and practice,” Scherer said. Students apply the theoretical knowledge they have learned by completing projects, such as live case studies, simulations, and consultations for nonprofits and other organizations.

A conceptual rendering shows the completed Neidorff School of Business at Trinity University. Credit: Courtesy / Trinity University

“At Trinity, whether you are a member of the Neidorff School of Business faculty, pursuing a degree in business, or are a student interested in taking a single business class, you will have access to the opportunities created by this generous gift,” Trinity President Danny Anderson said in a prepared statement.

Neidorff said in a statement that he credits his accomplishments in part to the education Trinity gave him. At St. Louis-based Centene, Neidorff has helped the health insurance provider grow from serving thousands of members to more than 25 million worldwide.

“I believe it is important to support your alma mater to whatever extent you can, therefore, helping to ensure opportunities for future generations,” he said.

Scherer said the gift from Neidorff and the Neidorff Family Trust “recognizes what we’ve known internally for many, many years — that we’re producing wonderful graduates who live positive and productive lives and contribute not only to their organizations but to their communities.” The donation will allow Trinity to continue that work and elevate the business school’s role, Scherer said.

Trinity is working toward becoming a nationally recognized liberal arts institution, Scherer said, and the $25 million gift will help raise the university’s profile.

Michael Neidorff
Michael Neidorff

The Neidorffs have supported the university for many years through the Neidorff Art Gallery and the family’s support of the University’s Center for the Sciences and Innovation. Additionally, Neidorff has served on Trinity’s board of trustees since 2005, filling the chairman position from 2016 to 2018. While chairman, Neidorff oversaw the completion of the university’s campus master plan that called for renovating the Chapman and Halsell Centers and constructing a new building in that complex. Trinity recently finished construction of Dicke Hall and completed the Halsell Center renovation.

The $25 million donation is among the largest recent gifts to San Antonio institutions of higher education. The biggest donation came from billionaire philanthropist and author MacKenzie Scott, who donated $40 million to the University of Texas at San Antonio in June. UTSA serves almost 35,000 students, compared to Trinity’s 2,500. Scott also donated $20 million to Palo Alto College, part of the Alamo Colleges, in December.

In March, Carlos and Malú Alvarez donated $20 million to UTSA, which renamed its business school the Carlos Alvarez College of Business. It was the first business school in the University of Texas system named after a Latino.

In 2017, philanthropists Joe and Teresa Lozano Long, longtime supporters of the University of Texas System, donated $25 million to UT Health San Antonio. The donation established a $1 million distinguished chair endowment for the dean of the School of Medicine, a $4 million endowment to support scholarships for Texas students studying at UT Health to be physicians, and a $20 million President’s Endowment for Faculty Excellence in Medicine.

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Brooke Crum

Brooke Crum is the San Antonio Report's education reporter.