The University of Maine System said Wednesday it will receive nearly half of the $500 million recently pledged in charitable grants to Maine schools and organizations by the Harold Alfond Foundation, making the UMS gift one of the largest ever to a U.S. public college or university.

Maine’s six-university system will receive $240 million from the foundation over 12 years, and plans to use the money to fund a new engineering college, a graduate facility, scholarships, athletics and more, according to a news release.

The grant is the largest ever to a public institute of higher education in New England and the eighth-largest to a U.S. public institute. Read more