PULLMAN, Wash. — The generosity of private donors to Washington State University resulted in more than $50 million in contributions in the last fiscal year, the second-highest total ever.

Donors contributed $50,115,946 in gifts and grants during fiscal year 1999-2000, which ended June 30.

“Returning to WSU has produced many pleasant surprises, but none more gratifying than the dramatic rise in giving to the university over the past 15 years,” said President V. Lane Rawlins. “Our friends and alumni, encouraged by the WSU Foundation, have kept WSU in the competition with other major universities through their generous gifts.”

“To have a year of this magnitude when the university was experiencing some significant transitions in leadership demonstrates that the philanthropic ethic is deeply held among Cougar alumni and friends,” said Jack Creighton, chairman of the WSU Foundation. “To maintain and even exceed the pace of Campaign WSU is a clear indication that donors continue to recognize the important impact they can have through their contributions.”

While major gifts continued to form the bedrock of giving — with those of $1 million and above totaling $9,850,425 — a sum of $1,372,359 was donated by individuals in amounts from $99 to $1 each.

A total of 2,460 organizations and 55,178 individuals made gifts of cash, securities, real property or other goods and services to the university. Participation among WSU alumni remained high, with nearly 25,000 Cougar alumni pitching in to improve their alma mater.

Noted Greg Sheridan, associate vice president for university advancement and senior vice president of the WSU Foundation, “It is a year where gifts have supported key institutional programs.”

Some of the highlights included:

— A $2.5 million bequest from the late Mildred Bissinger establishing two $1 million endowments for the department of philosophy and the Museum of Art, and an almost $500,000 endowment for the WSU Libraries’ Manuscripts, Archives and Special Collections.

— A $1 million scholarship endowment established by the late George S. Allen, to provide tuition for WSU students with physical disabilities.

— The success of the “Building Future Champions” campaign, a new $15.5 million indoor athletic practice facility. More than 500 donors have given to the project, which is entirely privately funded.

— The Plateau Native American Educational Trust, established by the late Allan Smith to provide scholarships for Native American students in WSU’s College of Liberal Arts and the Intercollegiate Center for Nursing Education/WSU College of Nursing in Spokane. The gift triples the amount of money in the college of nursing scholarship endowment.

— The establishment of the Huie-Rogers Endowed Chair in Computer Science by Floyd and Judy Rogers, Bellevue — the 100th endowed professorship at WSU.

— The more than $1 million contributed to the Samuel H. and Patricia W. Smith Teaching and Learning Endowment, which will go toward identifying those projects or programs that enhance teaching and learning at WSU.

More than 93 percent of donations supported academic programs, with athletics receiving 6.3 percent. The WSU Foundation spent less than 10 cents to raise each dollar contributed.