- Associated Press - Thursday, October 8, 2015

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - The University of Missouri announced Thursday that it’s received a $25 million donation from the Kinder Foundation to launch an institute to study constitutional democracy.

Richard Kinder, co-founder of the Kinder Morgan Inc. pipeline energy company, made the $25 million gift through his family foundation, the university said. The gift will launch and support the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy, which will focus on scholarship related to America’s Constitution, democratic principles, history and traditions.

The Kinder Institute, formerly known as the Kinder Forum, will not have permanent support, The Columbia Daily Tribune reported (https://bit.ly/1WQ5b1X ). The Kinder Forum was created in 2014 with a $1.67 million gift from the Kinder Foundation through the Jack Miller Center.

The Kinder Forum started an interdisciplinary minor in American constitutional democracy last fall for undergraduates.

Kinder, a native of Cape Girardeau, graduated from the university with a bachelor’s degree in 1966 and a law degree in 1968. The Kinder Foundation is a family foundation created in 1997 by Rich and Nancy Kinder of Houston.

Rich Kinder said he and his wife decided to donate because of a drop in state funding to universities, his good experiences at Missouri and the need for improved education about the United States’ Founding Fathers.

“You have to look to private philanthropy to help build centers of excellence,” he said. “What the founders really believed, how the nation got formed - if we don’t have that understanding across America, I think we are doomed for the future.”

Justin Dyer, an associate professor of political science, is director of the institute. He, two staff members and 11 core faculty members from multiple disciplines will contribute to its mission.

The Kinder Foundation has donated more than $150 million to projects including Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston and the Texas Heart Institute.


Information from: Columbia Daily Tribune, https://www.columbiatribune.com

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