- Associated Press - Wednesday, December 13, 2017

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - The endowment of the University of Missouri’s flagship campus in Columbia has topped $1 billion for the first time even as the campus struggles to recover from race-related protests and drops in enrollment.

Chancellor Alexander Cartwright said in a news release Wednesday touting the achievement that “overwhelming support from donors attracts quality students and faculty.”

The university is eager to grow its enrollment. Since the protests in 2015, enrollment has dropped by almost 13 percent. Seven residence halls that would have been used for freshmen either didn’t open this fall or were repurposed as office space or to house out-of-town football fans and international students enrolled in an engineering program.

The endowment shrank during the recession, but through new private gifts and stock market growth, it’s increased by more than $400 million since the campus launched its latest fundraising campaign six years ago.

“Generations of donors have graciously invested in our students and faculty, and we cannot thank them enough for their long-term vision and generosity,” Cartwright said.

Some of the top donors include David Novak, who gave $21.6 million this year to establish the Novak Leadership Institute; Rich and Nancy Kinder, who gave $25 million to establish the Kinder Institute in 2015; and the William Reynolds Foundation, which gave $30.1 million for the Reynolds Journalism Institute in 2012.

The release said the university is the 37th of the nation’s 1,644 public higher education institutions to reach the billion-dollar mark.

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