National University System Chancellor Dr. Michael R. Cunningham (left), philanthropist T. Denny Sanford, and National University President Dr. David W. Andrews. Courtesy of the University

National University will be renamed Sanford National University following a historic $350 million gift from San Diego philanthropist T. Denny Sanford.

The gift, which is among the 15th largest in the history of U.S. education, will be used to subsidize tuition and to help expand the school’s already fast-growing enrollment.

“We are so grateful for all that Denny has done for National University over the years, and are deeply honored to rename the university in recognition of the many contributions he has made to education and our society at large,” said Michael R. Cunningham, chancellor of the National University System, which includes National University.

“Denny’s vision and commitment to solving some of our society’s greatest challenges are great inspirations for us as we innovate and develop new models for student success,” Cunningham said.

The private, nonprofit university, which was launched in 1971, offers online and campus-based programs to serve adult learners, a student population that includes those who are working, raising families as well as first-generation students.

Sanford, 83, built a fortune in Midwestern banking with First Premier Bank, and began philanthropic giving in the late 1990s.

The university will be officially renamed on July 1, 2020.

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Chris Jennewein

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.