- Associated Press - Friday, October 30, 2015

DETROIT (AP) - The family that owns Little Caesars Pizza, the Detroit Tigers and Red Wings has donated $40 million to build a new business school at Wayne State University, the school announced Friday.

The Detroit university announced that Mike and Marian Ilitch made the gift to build the school near the new Red Wings arena and entertainment district now under development. Wayne State says it’s the largest gift to the university.

“I want to get out there and do some more stuff,” Mike Ilitch, 86, told reporters.

The donation includes $35 million and the use of the land for the facility’s construction, as well as a $5 million endowment. The Mike Ilitch School of Business is set to open in 2018.

“Marian and I have experienced in our own lives how entrepreneurship creates opportunity, builds community and drives philanthropy,” Mike Ilitch said in a statement. “We’re thrilled to work with Wayne State to bring those same values to the next generation of Detroit entrepreneurs.”

The school is expected to offer an entrepreneurship track with coursework that includes sports and entertainment management.

The money was accepted by the school’s Board of Governors, although one member abstained Friday. The Ilitches also donated $8.5 million to Wayne State’s medical school last year to boost surgical innovation, including research into sports-related concussions.

“Students will have unmatched access to the companies and industries evolving in Detroit, along with internships, networking and employment opportunities, all while contributing to the city’s renewal,” said Wayne State President M. Roy Wilson.

Ilitch companies, including Little Caesars, the Tigers and Red Wings, employ roughly 21,000 people and report a total combined annual revenue of $3.3 billion. Mike Ilitch owns the Tigers, and Marian Ilitch owns the MotorCity Casino Hotel.

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