A St. Helena man who died in April has left $2.4 million to Pacific Union College and another large gift to the St. Helena Hospital Foundation.
The donation by the late Stephen Ball was the largest single cash gift in PUC’s 132-year history, according to a statement from PUC President Heather Knight.
St. Helena Hospital Foundation is also receiving a “significant gift” from Ball, said Stephen Lundin, the foundation’s president and CEO. He confirmed that Ball underwent treatment at St. Helena Hospital, but declined to discuss further details about the bequest pending an upcoming meeting with representatives of Ball’s estate.
Walter Collins, PUC’s vice president for advancement, passed on a quote provided by Susan Baxter, whom he described as Ball’s “partner and friend of 29 years.”
“Stephen liked to keep a very low profile, he was a bit reclusive,” Baxter said. “He loved the Angwin area, and believed PUC and the hospital were very big assets to the valley. Stephen really loved going up to Angwin. We would drive up there often, shop at the store and drive or walk around the campus. It is such a beautiful and peaceful area. I am happy he used some of his money to support PUC.”
In a statement released by the college, Baxter described Ball as “a generous soul.” “Pacific Union College is such an asset to the Napa Valley community, and Stephen wanted to support the mission of the college,” she said.
According to the college, Ball was born in 1944 in Berkeley, and attended Armstrong College, a private college in Berkeley. He moved to the Napa Valley in 1994, and lived in St. Helena until he died in April.
Collins said Ball’s donation was unrestricted. The PUC board of directors hasn’t discussed how to use the gift, but Collins said he suspects it will “support many of the infrastructural needs and capital improvements that PUC needs to make, consistent with its educational mission.”
Knight said the donation will provide seed money for the college’s new fundraising effort, the Heritage Campaign.
“Stephen Ball understood the mission and the impact that Pacific Union College has had throughout its history, and we’re honored to receive this gift at a time when our college is on a historic upward trajectory,” Knight said in a statement.