Major contribution helps fund lighting project at New York college

An alumnus of Clarkson University in Potsdam, New York has made one of the biggest contributions to the school's endowment in its more than 100-year history. The $1.8 million comes from philanthropist Thomas Scott, and will go to funding the majority of a substantial lighting overhaul that will replace fixtures throughout the campus.

The money was donated as part of the school's "Evolution to Excellence" campaign that was started in October 2011. The goal of the fundraiser is to collect $228 million that will go to making the school one of the more energy efficient campus' in the country. The contribution from Scott brings the total amount of money raised so far in the campaign to almost $208 million.

"It is the largest estate gift ever received from an alumnus. Gifts of this magnitude don’t happen often and, when they do, it is a wonderful thing," Richard Johnson, Clarkson's vice president of philanthropy and alumni relations told the Watertown Daily Times.

According to the source, Scott was a 1960 mechanical engineering graduate of the university who would go on to work for Maryland-based Northrop Grumman.

Scott and his wife, Sarajean, had set up an estate that would go to his alma mater, unbeknownst to Johnson and other school officials, who told the source they were "very surprised" by the contribution.

The majority of the funds will go to replacing more than 60,000 interior fixtures throughout the campus with LED and CFL bulbs in an effort to cut down on the school's utility costs and environmental impact.

For homeowners looking to upgrade their living space without the help of a huge donation, replacing the lighting throughout their properties will greatly decrease their utility costs.