Fred and June Kummer discuss their transformative $300 million gift to Missouri S&T in this October 2020 video.
When the couple behind the world’s largest builder of hospitals announced their donation of $300 million to Missouri S&T last October, Chancellor Mo Dehghani called the gift “transformative for S&T, the Rolla region and our state.”
One year later, that transformation is taking shape.
The gift from June Kummer and her late husband, Fred S. Kummer, a 1955 Missouri S&T graduate, is the largest single gift ever to any Missouri university, public or private. It also is the fifth-largest gift to any public institution in the nation, according to data compiled by The Chronicle of Higher Education.
The gift, received Oct. 9, 2020, and announced Oct. 12, established the Kummer Institute for Student Success, Research and Economic Development to support Missouri S&T’s efforts to increase access to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, strengthen Missouri’s economy, and establish new research and development partnerships with Missouri manufacturers and state and national funding agencies.
“The Kummers gave us a mandate to use this gift for three things: elevate S&T, have broad STEM outreach, and have an economic impact in our region and across the state,” says Dehghani. “Every decision we make as stewards of this gift is made with that mandate in the forefront of our minds.”
Fred Kummer graduated from Missouri S&T in 1955 with a bachelor of science degree in civil engineering. He and June, an architecture graduate from Washington University in St. Louis, established a general-contracting business in the basement of their St. Louis home. That business, Hospital Building and Equipment Co., later became HBE Corp., the world’s largest design-build firm for health care and financial facilities. In 1973, Kummer expanded into the hospitality business, launching Adam’s Mark Hotels & Resorts, a chain of upscale hotels that eventually grew to 25 properties in 13 states.
Fred Kummer died April 30, 2021, in St. Louis. He was 92. The Kummers’ gift has already led to several initiatives at S&T to carry out his and June’s vision. They include:
The news of the Kummer gift last fall has led to further private support for Missouri S&T. That support includes new funding for endowed chairs in economics and mathematics, gifts to establish a new Arrival District to campus, and even further support from state and federal sources. The Kummer gift also allowed S&T to surpass the $150 million goal of its Rolla Rising fundraising campaign, which began in 2016, with a record $423.4 million.
“Fred encouraged us all to think big, and he backed it up with the largest charitable gift in Missouri history,” Dehghani says. “He has significantly raised our sights and our supporters’ confidence in our future.”
Missouri S&T will commemorate the one-year anniversary of the gift during Kummer Day. The hybrid in-person and virtual event will be held Saturday, Oct. 9, as part of S&T’s Homecoming Weekend activities. Kummer Day will begin with a reception at 10 a.m. in the Leach Theatre Lobby of Castleman Hall, followed by the formal program at 10:30 a.m. To register for the in-person or virtual event, please visit calendar.mst.edu/event/kummer_day_celebration.
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