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Remembering 'Pinky' McNamara, U benefactor, regent, athlete

  • Blog Post by: Jenna Ross
  • May 24, 2011 - 10:55 AM

As we reported this morning, Richard "Pinky" McNamara -- one of the University of Minnesota's biggest benefactors -- died Monday.

That story notes:

McNamara, who credited professors and advisers at the U for teaching him the analytic and problem-solving skills that led to his successful business career, made numerous gifts to the U.

In 1992, he gave $3 million to improve undergraduate registration and advising and essentially was responsible for building the College of Liberal Arts' advising center, according to university officials. Six years later, he donated $10 million -- one of the largest gifts ever received by the U -- that was divided among the College of Liberal Arts, the men's athletics department and the alumni center, which bears his name, university officials said.

I dug through the Star Tribune archives and found a couple quotes about McNamara over the years:

"Perhaps the most special thing about this gift is the person making it. He's a walking, talking testament to what's right about the University of Minnesota, a sort of living example of the impact the university can have on a person's life."

-- Former U President Mark Yudof, as quoted in 1998

"Some people give their time, some people give their money, but nobody gave more of both time and money to the university than Pinky. It's a better place because Pinky went to school there and he's given so much."

-- Former regent David Metzen, as quoted in 2005

And here's one from McNamara himself:

"There's something about the university: You read about it, you listen to Gopher games on the radio, and you fantasize that you might be here. And one of the risks of dreaming is, it's liable to happen. It did, for both of us.... Everything I think of, what I'm doing, it just goes back to the university. It's a great institution."

-- Richard "Pinky" McNamara, as quoted in 1998

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