updated 9/26/2007 1:42:57 PM ET 2007-09-26T17:42:57

The University of Maine announced Tuesday it has received the largest donation in its history, $12 million from 1937 graduate George L. Houston.

Houston, who died earlier this year at the age of 91, made the bequest to the University of Maine Foundation. The Bangor native played football for UMaine and later developed an engineering and surveying consulting business.

His gift will be used to establish a scholarship fund named for Houston that will benefit undergraduate and graduate students in the university's School of Forest Resources.

"Imagine the lives this gift will change, and imagine the long-term impact on our state and on the world around us," UMaine President Robert Kennedy said in making the announcement.

The gift represents a "significant milestone" in the university's six-year, $150 million private fundraising campaign, Kennedy said.

In 1995, Houston donated his 217-acre family farm in Hudson to UMaine through the university's Green Endowment Program.

In August, Kennedy announced a $6 million donation from Richard and Anne Collins of Key Largo, Fla. The bulk of that gift will be used to renovate the Maine Center for the Arts, which will be renamed in honor of the donors.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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