Former Prof Donates Record Gift to UA Anthropology Department

Aug. 31, 2005

A. Richard Diebold Jr., and his Salus Mundi Foundation have pledged $8 million to The University of Arizona department of anthropology over the next four years.

The gift is the largest donation ever received to the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences, and will be received in $2 million increments, the first of which has already been received. The gift is part of Campaign Arizona, the University's recently completed $1 billion fund-raising effort.

"Dr. Diebold has increased the awareness of, not only the anthropology department, but also the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences," said Ginny Healy, senior director of development for the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. "He has single handedly raised the bar for the college's fund-raising efforts.

"The College was one of the top fund-raising academic units for the year 2004-2005 due to the generosity of Dr. Diebold. He does not give for the recognition; he gives because he truly wants to see the anthropology department continue to thrive. He has quietly made a big difference in The University of Arizona community," Healy said.

Diebold previously gave the anthropology department $2 million in 2002, and $1 million in 2004, bringing his total gifts to the department to $11 million.

The $8 million is designated for a variety of projects. One is renovating the venerable, 80-year-old Arizona State Museum building for joint use by the museum and the anthropology department. The gift also will fund visiting professorships, help stabilize and renovate the University Indian Ruins property in Tucson for use as a self-sustaining conference center, provide endowed support of the UA archaeological field school, create an endowed fund for faculty and student travel, and provide endowed support for the publication of the department's renowned monograph series, "Anthropological Papers of the University of Arizona."

"As Campaign Arizona came to a close in recent weeks, it was particularly gratifying to know that donors were still inspired to step forward with pace-setting gifts," said Richard F. Imwalle, president of The University of Arizona Foundation. "Mr. Diebold's generosity is transformational for the anthropology department, and will have a profound, lasting impact."

"This gift of unparalleled generosity will allow anthropology at The University of Arizona to thrive and grow in ways that would be otherwise impossible," said Regents' Professor John Olsen, head of the UA anthropology department. "The Diebold/Salus Mundi gift assures the department's continued ranking among the top tier of U.S. anthropology programs."

The UA anthropology department is ranked fifth among colleges and universities in the U.S. by the National Research Council. The department's archaeology program is ranked second, and the linguistic anthropology program (and Diebold's academic forte) is ranked first.

"We are thrilled and extremely grateful to Richard Diebold and the Salus Mundi Foundation for this incredible gift," said Edward Donnerstein, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. "Dr. Diebold is a true philanthropist who knows what an incredible anthropology department we have, and knows what it takes to keep it one of the best in the country."

Diebold is professor emeritus of anthropology at the UA and was on the faculty from 1974 to 1992. The name of his foundation, Salus Mundi, means the "well-being of humanity."