March 22, 2000
p. p. Thomas F. Mendoza has a soft spot for his alma mater, University of Notre Dame. “I felt like I was the only Protestant on campus, but I met so many good people there. I learned to keep my focus on doing the right thing.”p. On Tuesday, Mendoza gave back. The 49-year-old 1973 alumnus who became a wealthy California computer executive joined his wife in giving Notre Dame a $35 million gift, the school’s largest ever.p. Just how the money will be used hasn’t been decided yet, but a large chunk will go to the university’s endowment. University officials have decided to rename the institution’s business school the Mendoza College of Business.p. “Tom and Kathy Mendoza have our deepest gratitude, and we are delighted by their magnificent generosity,” said the Rev. Edward A. Malloy, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s president. “We are especially gratified that they have chosen to join us in furthering the ambitious vision we have for the Mendoza College of Business.”p. An economics major, Mendoza is now senior vice president for sales and marketing at a California high-tech firm called Network Appliance. His wife, Kathy, also is an executive at Network Appliance. In 1999, Fortune magazine ranked Network Appliance as the fourth-fastest growing company on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100.p. “I turned toward a career in computers because the world was going that way,” Mendoza said. "We invented very fast ways to store data.p. “Kathy and I are delighted to be in a position to support Notre Dame with this contribution,” said Tom Mendoza, who lives with his wife in Atherton, Calif. “We are convinced that the university is committed to making the Mendoza College of Business a world-class college.”p. Carolyn Woo, dean of the college, said the gift “will accelerate the college’s already rapid growth in distinction. This gift will fast-forward our plans for achieving distinction in the highly dynamic and competitive sector of business education.”p. Forbes magazine recently rated Notre Dame’s business school among the nation’s top 20 at giving MBA students the best return on their investment.p. The school is Notre Dame’s second-largest, with 1,800 undergraduate students and 780 advanced degree students.p. The Mendozas’ donation is far from the largest ever; earlier this year computer industry publishing billionaire Patrick J. McGovern gave the Massachusetts Institute of Technology $350 million.p. p. Previous top donations at Notre Dame:
p. * Edward J. DeBartolo, mall developer, $33 million in 1989p. * The estate of oilman William J. Carey, $15 million in 1999p. * Franklin Eck, CEO of Advanced Drainage Systems of Columbus, Ohio, $10 million in 1995p. * Anonymous, $10 million in 1997p. * Kellogg Foundation, $10 million in 1979.p. Top donations made at area colleges:p. * Northwestern University $56.5 million, anonymous, 1998.p. * University of Illinois at Urbana, $40 million, 1985, Arnold and Mabel Beckman, Beckman Instruments.p. * University of Chicago, $25 million, Jan. 24, Dennis Keller, chairman and CEO of DeVry Inc. and co-founder of the Keller Graduate School of Management Inc.