BOZEMAN, MT — American Furniture Warehouse CEO Jake Jabs has donated an unrestricted $25 million gift to Montana State University's College of Business. An MSU alumnus, the 80-year-old Jabs is still responsible for the day-to-day operations of the $300 million furniture retail company, which is based in Colorado.
According to MSU, the Jabs' donation is the largest private gift made in the history of the Montana higher education system, and will be used for scholarships and academic programs. MSU President Waded Cruzado said she will also seek to gain approval to construct a new building for the business college.
"Mr. Jabs' gift provides us with the necessary financial strength and flexibility to begin to advance our College of Business," Cruzado said, in a statement. "A new building is a necessary first step. We have a bold plan for the future of the College of Business - for it to be one of the best in the nation - and Mr. Jabs' gift will get us started."
If approved, MSU said, ground could be broken on the estimated $18 million to $20 million building in the spring of 2013 with completion in 2015.
The $25 million follows on the heels of a $3 million gift Jabs gave last year to the MSU College of Business for the Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship for the New West.
Involved in the furniture industry since 1968, Jabs opened his first American Furniture Warehouse in 1975. Since then, the company has expanded to 12 stores and is considered the largest privately held businesses in Colorado, with sales topping $300 million annually and 1,500 employees.
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