The University of Arkansas at Monticello on Friday announced the largest private gift in school history from the trust of the late Merle and Deloris Peterson, of Dumas.

The gift will be in excess of $6 million after property appraisals are completed.

The gift was announced by UAM Chancellor Karla Hughes, Ph.D., at a news conference at the UA System Administration building in Little Rock.

“This is a wonderful gesture from two people who always held this university in high regard,” said UAM Chancellor Karla Hughes. “We will make sure their gift goes toward something at UAM that will continue the Petersons’ legacy of supporting education in southeast Arkansas for generations to come. The university will carefully weigh our options with regard to how we use these funds.”

Jeff Weaver, UAM’s vice chancellor for advancement, said he hopes the gift will encourage others to give toward educational endeavors at the university.

“This is a wonderful surprise from two people I knew well and who have helped so many young people, including myself, further their education,” said Weaver. “I hope this inspires others to include UAM in their planned gifts so that their legacy makes a real impact through supporting higher education.”