MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) -- Two farm girls who loved animals, lived simply and grew up to become multimillionaires have left West Virginia University $18.4 million, mostly to support veterinary medicine.
The gift from the late Gladys Gwendolyn Davis and Vivian Davis Michael, announced Tuesday, is the largest private donation from individuals in the school's history.
The women lived modestly and turned an inheritance into a fortune by investing wisely, while telling no one about the extent of their wealth, said John Patrick Ball, executor of the sisters' estate and a longtime family friend.
"To think that their love of animals ... led them to this decision, is just astounding," said university President David Hardesty. "We thank them from the bottom of our hearts."
The sisters attended the university, but Gladys never finished. She worked for the federal government in clerical jobs for 34 years, while Vivian taught social studies in Monongalia County schools for 41 years.
Gladys was an introvert who preferred to look after the house, the pets and, until 1984, their mother. She never learned to drive, walking to the bank and the beauty parlor instead.
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