LEWISTON — The Bonney family, which last year gave Bates College $10 million, has given the private liberal arts school an even bigger gift: $50 million.

The money, which is the largest donation in the college’s history and one of the largest for any school in Maine, comes as part of a five-year, $300 million capital campaign launched for Bates this week.

“We hope people think, ‘Wow. There’s something special about Bates College, and I want to be a part of it,'” Michael Bonney said in a Q&A with Bates College last week.

The Bonney family’s gift will help pay for the building of new science, technology, engineering and math facilities and the renovation of current facilities.  

Four generations of the Bonney family have attended Bates. Michael Bonney, a Bates trustee since 2002 and board chairman since 2010, retired in 2014 as CEO of Cubist Pharmaceuticals, which was sold to Merck pharmaceuticals for $9.5 billion that same year. Cubist was probably best known for making Cubicin, a popular antibiotic used to treat MRSA skin infections.


Michael Bonney and his wife, Alison Grott Bonney, graduated from Bates in 1980. Their three children, his father and grandfather also graduated from Bates.

Including the Bonney family donation, more than $168 million has been raised so far for the $300 million capital campaign. The college plans to use the money for various projects, including:

* Endowed professorships, $24 million

* New digital  and computational studies program, $10 million

* New and modernized science facilities, $54 million

* Academic innovation, $12 million


* Financial aid endowment, $75 million

* Internships, $14 million

* Athletics facilities and operation, $25 million

This is the largest capital campaign in the school’s history.

This story will be updated.


Michael and Alison Grott Bonney, far right, last year during Bates College’s announcement their $10 million gift. The Bonney family has now given the college a new gift of $50 million. From left are Michael Bonney’s parents, Weston Bonney, Class of 1950, and Elaine Bonney.

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