LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The University of Louisville has received its largest gift ever from an individual, a $12.5 million bequest from the estate of Charles and Theresa Grosscurth.

    The state has matched most of the funds through the Research Challenge Trust Fund, often called “Bucks for Brains,” bringing the total support to $24 million. The original donation will be used to set up an endowment to support scholarships for Ph.D. students enrolled in the Speed Scientific School; the matching funds will be used to establish six endowed chairs, four in the Speed School, to enhance the experience of the Grosscurth fellows at U of L.

    The university’s logistics efforts will be enhanced with a new chair in e-commerce. Its efforts in bioengineering will grow through the addition of chairs in computer vision and image processing, biomechanics, and nanotech/surface engineering. A portion of the latter chair was created with the state match of a $489,000 gift from Charles Pullin. A 1945 Speed School graduate, Pullin gave to establish graduate fellowships; the person who fills the chair will work with those graduate fellows.

    U of L also will use the Grosscurth state match to establish a technical writing chair in the College of Arts and Sciences and an intellectual property law chair in U of L’s Brandeis School of Law.

    “This is a truly historic gift to the University of Louisville,” said U of L President John Shumaker. “Through their incredible generosity, Charles and Theresa Grosscurth have made a significant contribution that will benefit this university and Kentucky for years to come.”

    “This gift will enable us to continue to attract and support outstanding researchers and gifted graduate students to Speed Scientific School,” said Dean Thomas Hanley. “Its impact will be felt by all our students and the community.”

    The Grosscurths made their marks in the distilling industry. They began Grosscurth Distillers, producers of Bourbon Supreme, in Anchorage, Ky., in 1948 and built the company together – he as president and she as secretary/treasurer. After a 1968 fire destroyed the distillery, they sold the company to Chicago-based Makler Brothers, which moved production to Bardstown, Ky. The Grosscurths also operated distilleries in Lawrenceburg and Meadowland, Ky.

    Married for 60 years, the Grosscurths were active in the community. They were members of Audubon Country Club and First Unitarian Church, which they attended for 50 years. They died in 1999.

    In addition to the gift to U of L, the Grosscurths left $3 million of their estate to the Community Foundation of Louisville.

    John Drees is a 35-year veteran in the Office of Communications and Marketing. As vice president, communications and marketing, he works closely with the president, provost and other senior administrators, oversees the Office of Communications and Marketing, including media relations, marketing and brand, broadcast, social media, internal communication, crisis communication, visitor services and special events and activities. A former sports editor for the Voice Newspapers, he was a regular contributor to a variety of publications, including the Kentucky Sports Report and the Courier-Journal. A poor but enthusiastic golfer, he is an avid Cardinal sports fan. He also loves the Detroit Lions, so pity him.