Carnegie Mellon University
Donation: $265 million
Donor: William S. Dietrich, II

In September, William S. Dietrich II, former chief executive of Dietrich Industries, pledged to donate $265 million to Carnegie Mellon University.

"Serving as a trustee of Carnegie Mellon convinced me that Carnegie Mellon is not only a great university, but that it is an important driver of the future success of this region and its citizens," he said at the time.

Dietrich, who was raised in Pittsburgh but graduated from Princeton, also gave $125 million to the University of Pittsburgh.

In recognition of the gifts, the University of Pittsburgh named its School of Arts and Sciences in honor of his father, Kenneth P. Dietrich, and Carnegie Mellon named its College of Humanities and Social Sciences after his mother, Marianna Brown Dietrich.

In October, a month after making his historic pledges to the universities, Dietrich passed away. "Carnegie Mellon and Pittsburgh have lost a great friend," Carnegie Mellon said in a statement.

By Jessica Dickler @CNNMoney - Last updated December 30 2011: 11:46 AM ET
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Late-year surge in donations

Chalk it up to the holiday spirit -- or just smart tax planning -- but online charitable donations are up 15% so far in December and are expected to rise even further in the final two days of the year.

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