James and Frances Maguire have made a $50 million donation to St. Joseph's University, it was announced July 20.

James and Frances Maguire have made a $50 million donation to St. Joseph’s University, it was announced July 20.

St. Joseph’s University has received a $50 million donation, the largest in its 166-year history, from James J. Maguire, class of 1958, and his wife, Frances.

In its July 20 announcement, St. Joseph’s said the gift will boost the university’s endowment, support financial assistance for students and fund educational programs for Philadelphia-area teachers in Catholic and independent schools.

After graduating from St. Joseph’s College, Maguire began a successful career in insurance, eventually forming his own public insurance company that was sold to a Japanese firm in 2008.

His name will now headline St. Joseph’s nationally recognized program dedicated to the study of his chosen field: the Maguire Academy of Risk Management and Insurance.

“This is a historic and game-changing gift,” said Mark C. Reed, university president. “This investment will advance academic excellence and will increase student access through a major infusion of endowed funds for scholarships and financial assistance – top strategic priorities.   The significant impact on our endowment will benefit students and faculty for generations.”

Reed praised the Maguires, saying they “stand out in our region for their generosity and loyalty to many causes, especially Catholic education.”

For his part, Maguire is giving back to the university “where my life changed,” he said. “Early in my college career, I struggled academically but it was the Jesuits who saw my potential and nurtured it, setting me on a path for success. I have never forgotten that it was at St. Joseph’s where people first believed in me and I have lived my life – professionally and personally – embracing the values that are the foundation of a Jesuit education.

“It is with great confidence and pride that we make this investment in SJU,” Maguire said.

The recent donation is just the latest of many contributions from the Maguires to St. Joseph’s.

Maguire gave $15 million to the campus expansion campaign in 2005, enabling the purchase of the former Episcopal Academy property, now known as the James J. Maguire ’58 Campus. His name also appears on the Maguire Wolfington Welcome Center on the campus, which prior to its sale in 2012 had been the residence for Philadelphia’s archbishops since the 1930s.

The Maguires are the largest benefactors to the university, having given approximately $75 million.

They are also co-principals of the Maguire Foundation, which provides funding to support education in the arts and humanities, and to alleviate hunger and homelessness.

The Maguire Scholars Program funds more than 1,000 scholarships for students at 24 elementary schools, 35 high schools and 28 universities in the mid-Atlantic region.