Kresge and Photo of Kresge Inset

In the 1960s, a plan for a new School of Nursing building was a top priority for the university. The move to the Natural Sciences Building in 1958 was a temporary arrangement, as a fundraising campaign commenced to raise the money necessary for a nursing facility.

Pennsylvania-born businessman Sebastin Kresge met with Western President Ed Hall and Board of Governors member Jack White to discuss a possible donation for the nursing building. The meeting was successful, as Kresge donated $200,000 to the project. In recognition of his generosity, the new building was named the Kresge School of Nursing. 

In 1924, with an initial gift of $1.6 million, Kresge established the Kresge Foundation in Detroit. Twelve years earlier, he and his partner, John G. McCrory, opened the first 5-and10 store – a radical merchandising notion at the time – and grew the concept into a chain of stores that were incorporated into the S.S. Kresge Company.

Many years later, the store would become better known as Kmart.

The Kresge Foundation, a $3.2 billion private, national foundation, continues to assist the life circumstances of poor and low-income children and adults and those living in underserved communities. Head-quartered in Troy, Mich., a suburb of Detroit, the foundation awarded more than $130 million in grants this past year.

Kresge died in 1966 at the age of 99.

-    Paul Mayne, Western News, January 09, 2014
Photos and story republished with permission