Drake University officials say a $28-million donation will cover the remaining cost of building a new student center on the Des Moines campus. It’s the largest single-donor gift in school history.

The gift comes from Greg Johansen, who graduated from Drake in 1973 and founded Medicap, a company that operates nearly two dozen pharmacies in central Iowa.

Johansen says the center will give student organizations a new home on campus.

“It’s been sort of catch as catch can for their meeting spaces and documents and the things that each organization needs to function,” Johansen says. “This is going to give that space and so hopefully that will help the organizations flourish.”

The student center is under construction in a former residence hall. Drake President Marty Martin says the donation will allow Drake to complete the center debt-free, so it won’t affect the general budget.

Martin says the project includes space for student groups and an intercultural center.

“It invigorates the life of our students, creates that central location that we’ve never really had where they can gather and do the things that really make a valuable contribution to their formation as Drake alumni,” Martin says.

Johansen’s gift will also support the Drake women’s basketball team and the installation of solar panels on a university building.

(By Grant Gerlock, Iowa Public Radio)

Radio Iowa