Casino Mogul Delivers $1 Million to Southern University
By Scott Dyer
BATON ROUGE, La.
Historically Black Southern University hit the jackpot on June 28 when casino mogul Jack Binion delivered the largest gift in the school’s history — a cool $1 million.
The soft-spoken Binion, who owns Binion’s Horseshoe in Las Vegas, the Horseshoe riverboat casino in Bossier City, La., and two other gambling riverboats, says he decided to donate the money to Southern University because he wanted to “make a difference” in the lives of deserving minority students.
At least part of the money will likely make a difference in the university’s efforts to recruit and retain top faculty, with the rest going for scholarships and efforts to develop art museums on all three campuses. Binion’s commitment calls for annual donations of $100,000 for the next decade to the Southern University system.
To maximize the $1 million gift, Southern University officials have already laid plans to invest much of the money in several Louisiana state programs that offer matching funds. As a result, Binion’s $1 million gift will have a total impact of about $1.7 million. Southern University System President Leon Tarver says the top priority will be to invest $400,000 to create a new endowed chair at the College of Business at the university’s Baton Rouge campus.
Likewise, Southern University officials plan to invest $120,000 into a state endowed professorship program to help hire and retain top professors for the Shreveport campus.
Another $180,000 will be earmarked for an endowed scholarship fund to help students who transfer from the Shreveport campus — which is currently a two-year program — to Southern’s Baton Rouge and New Orleans campuses.
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