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Alumnus Harry Fath makes $50 million gift to Notre Dame

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by Dennis Brown

University of Notre Dame alumnus Harry Fath and his wife, Linda, have committed a $50 million gift, the largest of its kind in the University’s history, to his alma mater for use exclusively for undergraduate financial aid.

“This extraordinarily generous gift will provide much-needed flexibility in offering financial aid packages tailored to the needs of our students and their families,” Notre Dame President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., said. “On behalf of the Notre Dame community, I extend our immense gratitude to Harry and Linda for enabling us to make a Notre Dame education possible for qualified students who would not otherwise have had this opportunity.”

Reflective of their commitment to making a high-quality education available to all qualified applicants regardless of their socioeconomic position, the Faths approached Notre Dame with a proposal to make a substantial difference in the lives of students who aspire to attend the University.

With their gift, they will give the University maximum flexibility in how the funds are to be used to help students find a home at Notre Dame. Whether a student is, for example, from a low-income background or a middle-class family of five, the Faths’ gift will enable students of all circumstances to attend and graduate from Notre Dame prepared to make a difference in the world.

Financial aid has been the University’s top fundraising priority for more than three decades, and in the current academic year Notre Dame is distributing more than $180 million of aid in the form of endowment-generated, need-based scholarships that do not require repayment. The University is one of a small number of schools to meet students’ full demonstrated financial need and, with the help of benefaction and returns from the endowment, has continued to lower the average need-based debt for its students over the past 15 years. Nearly 70 percent of Notre Dame students receive some type of financial aid, with an average scholarship of $50,500.

“Linda and I are honored to be able to make this gift to the University of Notre Dame, a place that is run with integrity and espouses the right kind of values,” Harry Fath said. “It is our hope that this gift will change thousands of lives for the better.”

Raised in Cincinnati, Fath followed an older brother to Notre Dame and graduated in 1963. He served in the U.S. Army, then returned to his hometown to earn a law degree from the University of Cincinnati.

After practicing law for a few years, he began making investments in real estate, which ultimately led to the founding of Fath Properties. While building the company, Fath also engaged in numerous civic and business activities in his hometown and beyond.

Fath has served in various roles at Notre Dame, including as a member of the Notre Dame Law School Advisory Council since 2000. Linda Fath has devoted time and talent to the Taft Museum of Art, Cincinnati Art Museum, Greater Cincinnati Foundation and several other civic and social activities.

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