The late Dr. William L. Ridgway has left $39 million to the University of Evansville, establishing the largest single gift ever made to UE from an individual or corporation. The lifetime trustee and retired ophthalmologist now is the largest donor in UE’s 159-year history, with a total of $52.6 million given to the University.

UE President Thomas A. Kazee recently announced the gift at the Ridgway University Center.

“Dr. Ridgway was a passionate believer in the importance of higher education and a devoted friend of the University of Evansville,” said Kazee.

“During his lifetime, he redefined the UE experience for students by supporting facilities such as the Ridgway University Center and Harlaxton College, and by making a UE education accessible and affordable for talented students. His vision and generosity were limitless, and through this remarkable gift, he will continue to make a profound impact on the University for generations to come.”

The bulk of the gift, approximately $34 million, will be administered through a trust at Old National Bank. The Ridgway Trust is a 501c 3 organization, and as required by law, will provide an annual distribution of at least five percent of the funds to the University of Evansville, similar to the operation of the University’s endowment. UE may submit requests for larger one-time amounts for special projects detailed in the University’s vision statement, including enhancements of academic programs and facilities.

The University will receive an initial gift of $5 million that will be used in part to create the Ridgway Endowment for Faculty Excellence, which will support the efforts of UE’s talented teachers and scholars by providing funds for travel, research, curricular innovation, and more.

Ridgway died Friday, March 8 at the age of 92.

Krestin Lund serves as director of news services at the United Methodist-related University of Evansville.

Dr. William L. Ridgway leaves $39 million to UE; now the largest donor in UE history