$101M Puts Progressive’s Lewis on Top Among Princeton Donors

January 23, 2006

For Peter B. Lewis, the Cleveland philanthropist and chairman of Progressive Insurance, even donating to one’s alma mater is about doing it better than the last guy.

The 72-year-old Lewis, a 1955 graduate of Princeton University, has given the school $101 million to build a new performing arts center and improve the school’s creative arts programs. It’s the largest single monetary gift on record at the university.

“Why wasn’t it $99 million or $100 million?” Lewis asked, acknowledging that the previous record for a donation was $100 million, by Hong Kong developer and graduate Gordon Wu in 1996. “It’s sort of a tongue-in-cheek, ego thing. I wanted to give the biggest gift.”

Lewis’ total contributions to the university now exceed $220 million and make him the school’s “most generous donor in the modern era,” according to a statement from Princeton.

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.