updated 6/4/2007 12:20:15 PM ET 2007-06-04T16:20:15

Michigan State University has received its largest individual cash gift ever, picking up $26 million from alum Eli Broad and his wife, Edythe, to help build a new art museum on campus.

Broad, 73, a 1954 graduate of Michigan State, made his fortune in real estate and finance. The billionaire’s philanthropy has aided several educational, business and art projects. He endowed Michigan State’s business college in the 1990s.

“A great university needs a great museum, since the arts stimulate learning and creativity throughout the entire campus,” Broad said in a statement.

“Eli Broad’s commitment to Michigan State University is extraordinary, and his generosity will have a lasting and transformational impact,” university president Lou Anna Simon said in a statement.

The school’s art collection is currently on campus in the Kresge Art Museum.

The new museum will focus on modern and contemporary art. It will be named the Eli and Edythe Broad Art Museum pending approval from the university’s governing board at its June 15 meeting.

The total cost for the new museum is about $30 million. The Broad gift includes $18.5 million for construction, while $7.5 million will be used to buy art and start endowments for exhibitions and operations. Michigan State has raised an additional $6.5 million toward the construction project.

Groundbreaking is expected in 2008.

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