Portland State’s bizarre $100M donation story

President Wim Wiewel was promised a grand gift, but questions about the benefactor derailed the donation. Now the would-be donor says he wanted to give more than $1 billion.

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Portland State University President Wim Wiewel was promised a grand gift of $100 million, but questions about the anonymous benefactor derailed the donation.

Now the would-be donor, John Michael Fitzpatrick, says he wanted to give more than $1 billion over time.

PSU planned to unveil its largest gift in history in grand fashion with a press conference including the governor and mayor.

But, it turns out the university hadn’t done its due diligence before sending out the invitations.

Wiewel hit the brakes after Mark Rosenbaum, PSU Foundation’s board chairman, became suspicious during a conference call with the president and Fitzpatrick — one day before the planned press conference.

Fitzpatrick’s wealth is the $100 million question swirling around Portland State and the PSU Foundation, the school’s fundraising arm. Unidentified until Friday, Fitzpatrick came forward to insist he is wealthy and that he has the wherewithal to make the donation. In fact, in an interview, he said the $100 million would be just the beginning. He actually intends to donate $1.1 billion to Portland State.

(SOURCE: OregonLive.com)

Wiewel promised his administration would re-examine its processes after the embarrassing debacle.

From an email Wiewel sent to trustees obtained by the Oregonian:

On Monday, as more information about Mr. Fitzpatrick came to light and no money was received, we canceled the planned announcement and notified the governor, mayor and the Oregonian.  In retrospect, we should have taken more time to review Fitzpatrick’s offer, and we are taking a hard look at our internal procedures to ensure this is a one-time occurrence.

(SOURCE: OregonLive.com)


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