Peter McCausland speaks to reporters on October 31, 2013.
Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- A business executive from Pennsylvania and his wife are creating a $10 million endowment at the University of South Carolina's College of Arts and Sciences.
Airgas Inc., founder Peter McCausland announced the gift Thursday in Columbia on the campus.
The businessman is a 1971 South Carolina graduate with a degree in History and minor in English, he later attended Boston University where he earned a law degree.
The endowment is the largest the College of Arts and Science has ever received and it will be used to retain successful teachers, launch a visiting scholars program and encourage imaginative teaching and research projects.
McCausland said, "To me the university changed my life, my education gave me opportunities that I would have never had."
"I fondly remember the teachers that I had in the College of Arts and Sciences and to me they were the most important part of educational experience," said McCausland.
Dean of the college Mary Anne Fitzpatrick said, "This gift will help us maintain that margin of excellence, really being able to acknowledge the quality of the people we brought to Carolina and retain them."
"Being able to acknowledge them with a fellowship, with some salary support and really to be able to recognize them during this time period when we are most vulnerable to losing them is extremely important to us," said Dean Fitzpatrick.
McCausland hopes that the gift will help keep the best teachers at the school to give other students the same memories he has of us academic experience.
McCausland said, "Students today and in the future can enjoy the same great teaching that I did when I was here."
The McCauslands donated $1.75 million to establish the McCausland Center for Brain Imaging in 2004 to the university.