Lenoir-Rhyne University announced today it received a $2.5 million gift to fund academic scholarships. WFAE's Simone Orendain has more. Thomas Mott Jr.'s estate made the bequest to Lenoir-Rhyne University. School officials say Mott went to Lenoir-Rhyne for years, but didn't complete his degree there. He later got a masters in textile chemistry from NC State and invested in several companies in Hickory until he retired in 1969. Lenoir-Rhyne Vice President of Advancement Scott Shrode says the gift is a type of landmark that allows the university to help students. "Being one of the larger gifts that has been directed toward the academic enterprise here at the university, we were very excited," says Shrode. In 2007, the school received a $5.1 million gift. $500,000 of it was set aside for academic scholarships, the rest would pay for an athletic facility. The school says the Mott scholarships would be awarded to students who've demonstrated outstanding academic performance and leadership skills. The gift will award about $112,000 in scholarships yearly. Shrode says Mott kept in touch with the school until he died in March at the age of 99.