STORRS, Conn. — A donor who demanded the return of $3 million from the University of Connecticut because he was unhappy with the hiring of its new football coach has agreed to let the school keep the money, university officials said Friday.
Robert Burton and the university agreed to move past their differences after UConn Board of Trustees Chairman Larry McHugh met with him and his family, McHugh said in a news release.
“I felt that it was important to pay a visit to them and have a dialogue,” McHugh said. “I am very pleased that in a very short period of time he and his family were able to reconnect with UConn, recognizing all the good UConn does for its students and our state.”
Burton, chief executive officer of Greenwich, Conn.-based Burton Capital Management, complained in a Jan. 19 letter to UConn athletic director Jeff Hathaway that his opinions were ignored in the process leading to the selection of Paul Pasqualoni as coach. He said he wanted the school to return $3 million in donations and remove his family name from its football complex.
In a statement released by the university, Burton said he reconsidered after university officials including incoming president Susan Herbst reached out to him.
“I have been reflecting on it and came to the conclusion that I’m not going to let one experience change the relationship my family and I have with UConn. We love the university, we’re proud of our association with it and it is going to continue,” he said.
Burton, a printing industry executive, received an honorary doctorate degree from the University of Connecticut in 2000. He and his family have given more than $7 million in donations for scholarships and other programs, including $2.5 million in 2002 to kick off construction of the football complex.
His son, Joe, played for Pasqualoni at Syracuse from 1997 to 2001 and another son, Michael, played at UConn for former coach Randy Edsall in 1999.