(WMC-TV) – LeMoyne-Owen College received the largest donation in the school's 150 year history.
Wylodine Patton is a graduate from the class of 1940. She donated a $1.5 million gift to the school. She is now being honored three years after her death.
"She didn't come from wealth," said Johnnie W. Watson, LeMoyne-Owen College president.
The great granddaughter of slaves saved her impressive wealth the old fashioned way. She and her husband held middle class jobs in California. She was a state and federal employee and her husband was in the United States Army.
With no children, Wylodine Patton left 75 percent of her estate to the only other family she knew.
"She never forgot about us. She never stopped loving us," said Watson.
The money will help students pay their tuition by keeping fees stable, allowing for more success stories.
"They gave me a way out of where I was. I always wanted to do better than where I was," said graduate Sadie Wiley.
The money will bridge the gap between the school's cost of doing business and tuition revenue all thanks to Wylodine Patton.
For the current students walking back and forth to class, school leaders say this gift sends a message that there are alumni across the country that care about their education.