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Mizzou Engineering benefactors

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Mizzou Engineering benefactors

In 2004, halfway through the University of Missouri’s “For All We Call Mizzou” capital campaign, Engineering Building East received a name change. Because of their generous $7 million gift, it became Thomas and Nell Lafferre Hall. It remains the largest single gift in the history of Mizzou Engineering, and it made a significant dent in the goal of $68 million to be raised by December 2008.

A couple of years went by, and despite the fact that the College of Engineering made steady progress toward its goal, when the calendar turned to 2008, the $68 million goal did not seem within easy reach.

Then out of the blue came the announcement that an anonymous donor, or donors, had promised to match every dollar pledged to Mizzou Engineering—up to $5 million—by campaign’s end, energizing the effort. Monies generated from the challenge were to be used in the creation of a discretionary dean’s fund.

When it was announced October 24 that the College of Engineering had met its goal, engineering’s secret admirers’ names were released, and once again the Lafferres were front and center among engineering’s many generous donors.

“With our names on the building, I couldn’t stand by and let them not make their goal. I just couldn’t stand to see the dean not make it” said Tom Lafferre who earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1956.

“I have strong feelings for MU that go back quite a way to my first visit to MU in 1952, and the warm reception and tour I received then from Dean Huber Croft,” said Lafferre. “And I met Nell at MU, at a Gamma Phi Beta Halloween party.”

“We’ve been successful. We’ve had a good life and we’d like to give back,” said Lafferre, adding that the two of them would have liked to have been on campus for the announcement.

““We look forward to being there in April 2009, to celebrate with everyone the great achievement of engineering meeting their goal, as well as the University achieving their great goal of $1 billion,” said Lafferre.


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