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Mizzou not commenting on future of Ken Lay chair

Reuters file photo of Ken Lay

By Sarah Ashworth, KBIA

Columbia, MO – University of Missouri System President Elson Floyd is extending condolences to Ken Lay's family and says the university is extremely appreciative of the support Lay gave to the university.

The Enron founder died early Wednesday of an apparent heart attack in Aspen, Colorado.

In recent months, Lay's donation of just more than $1 million for an endowed chair in Economics in his name has come under public scrutiny following his conspiracy and fraud convictions.

Many had called for the money to be returned. But university spokesperson Scott Charton says Lay should be remembered for more than that last donation.

"Mr. Lay's generosity to the university extended to gifts that were quiet, some anonymous gifts, as I understand it, that had a material difference in educating students at the university," Charton said Wednesday. "He didn't always seek publicity for these gifts."

Charton says the university will not yet comment on the future of the endowed chair out of respect for Lay's family.

Lay graduated from the University of Missouri in 1965

Charton says Lay also quietly gave money for an endowed chair in the business school. "He didn't always seek publicity for these gifts. There are other gifts, such as for the endowed chair in economics that have gotten more attention, but the Lay family generosity has extended far beyond just that."

Lay was to be sentenced in September.


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