The University of Maryland is poised to receive one of the largest donations in its history Thursday, and it’s coming from a familiar source.
Longtime athletic booster Barry Gossett, whose $10 million gift helped build a football team house that opened in 2007 and bears his and his wife Mary’s names, has pledged another eight-figure donation.
Sources familiar with the situation told The Baltimore Sun that a campus event will be held later this morning to announce Gossett’s latest gift.
Gossett declined to comment.
Though the beneficiary of Gossett’s donation won’t be made known until the announcement, it seems likely that it should have something to do with student-athletes given his close ties to the athletic program.
It follows the $25 million pledged by Under Armour CEO and chairman Kevin Plank to help fund the now-$196 million Cole Field House project.
Gossett, who will turn 78 on Monday, serves as vice chairman of the Board of Regents for the University System of Maryland. He previously served as chairman of the University of Maryland, College Park Foundation. .
The two largest donations to date at Maryland took place in the past five years and had nothing to do with athletics.
In 2014, high-tech entrepreneur Brendan Iribe, an Atholton alumnus who dropped out of Maryland during his freshman year in the early 1990s and went on to found Oculus, gave $31 million to build an on-campus center for computer science and innovation in his name.
At the time, it was the largest donation in the history of the school.
That record was shattered last year, when it was announced in October that the A. James and Alice B. Clark Foundation was giving the university $219 million. Maryland’s School of Engineering bears his name.
That money is being used to fund more scholarships, build new space for students to work together on projects, and provide for additional endowed faculty chair positions and other programs that university officials termed “historic in scope and transformational in impact.”
Gossett, who dropped out of Maryland during his junior year in 1961 to help support his family after his father died, became a certified public accountant and eventually worked 33 years for Williams Mobile Offices in White Marsh, which mostly made mobile units for construction sites.
After retiring as its chairman when the company was sold in 2002 to New Acton Mobile Industries, Gossett served as CEO of New Acton Mobile until 2011 and is now chairman. The company was bought in December by Williams Scotsman in all-cash deal for $235 million.
Those who know the quiet, bespectacled businessman believe that unlike many other big-time athletic boosters, Gossett rarely calls attention to himself and would rather work behind the scenes.
One longtime Maryland booster recently referred to Gossett as a “godsend” for the financially strapped athletic department, as well as to the university as a whole.
“Barry is one of the most unassuming, nonegotistical, down-to-earth gentlemen you could possibly meet,” said Thomas McCausland, a South Florida attorney who has been a longtime financial supporter of the Maryland football program.
“I mean this from the bottom of my heart. If Maryland didn’t have Barry Gossett, I don’t know where they’d be. He has been a generous friend and supporter, and he wants nothing in return. He’s just a straight [shooting] guy who believes in and loves Maryland.”