Lord Sale Triggers Windfall For Duke U

Nov 13, 2019

The late Thomas Lord, who set up foundations to support universities, including Duke University.
Credit Lord Corporation / Laura Brinn

Duke University will receive $261 million thanks to a distribution that was triggered by the recent sale of Cary-based Lord Corporation.

Parker-Hannifin acquired Lord earlier this year for nearly $3.7 billion, which triggered a distribution to four foundations that were set up in 1982 by the late Thomas Lord, who led the family-owned company until his death in 1989. Those foundations support four institutions, including Duke University, and the sale triggered a cash windfall of more than $1 billion that the four will share. The other supported institutions are the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Southern California, and the Cleveland Clinic.

The institutions are free to use the money as they see fit. Duke said its $261 million distribution has been designated for the university's endowment to provide a permanent source of support. It will be the largest single outside contribution to the fund since the founding of the university in 1924. 

"The Lord Foundation's exceptional support for Duke will transform our efforts to address the world's most intractable problems," said Duke President Vincent E. Price in a statement. "From the foundation's earliest investments in our Pratt School of Engineering to this truly visionary distribution, Tom Lord has left a lasting legacy on Duke's campus, one that will continue to improve the lives of our students, faculty, staff and those who benefit from their work, for many decades to come."