Shidler College of Business donation aims to produce billions in steady income

The University of Hawaii Shidler College of Business received Wednesday the latest installment in what has become the largest donation in the university’s 110-year history.

University alumnus Jay H. Shidler, whom the school is named after, donated $117 million in cash and real estate ground leases. This is in addition to a $111 million gift he announced in 2014.

In total, Shidler has given $228 million to the school.

In addition to being the largest donation in university history, it is also the second-largest known gift to any U.S. business school at a public university.

The ground leases were designed to provide the school with a steady source of income that could potentially make the school tuition-free within 40 years.

“Each facility, each program and professor is going to cost a lot of money, so my thought was if I could give the university a gift that had a highly predictable income stream, and this gift has a contractual stream of $2.1 billion, and that’s something you can plan for,” Shidler said, “it ends up being a very, very consistent and predictable source of income and typically increases over time. … At the end of the day, you get a sense of how value is created, how value is sustained, and how value changes over time.”

The land underlies 11 significant office buildings in the commercial business districts of major mainland cities – Seattle, Denver, Chicago, Tampa, Nashville, Louisville, Mount Vernon, Charlotte, and Columbus.

The gift comes with one critical condition: the university is prohibited from selling any of the donated ground leases prior to the end of their 99-year terms.

At the end of the ground lease terms, the college receives full ownership of the related office buildings, which together with the land will be worth an estimated $5.1 billion.

Shidler graduated from the university in 1968. He credits the college with preparing him for a successful career in business and his lifelong love of the Islands, where he has resided since 1964.

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