DAVIDSON – A former Burger King CEO made a whopper of a donation to Davidson College.

The $10 million gift from John and Lisa Chidsey, of Coral Gables, Fla., will support three of their alma mater’s priorities:

• The first phase of the college's Academic Neighborhood.

• Scholarships for exceptional Davidson students.

• Leadership initiatives through the Chidsey Center for Leadership Development.

“Lisa and I chose to make this gift now because we believe in the vision of the college, the leadership of President Carol Quillen, and the compelling case Carol and Davidson College make for why the liberal arts matter now more than ever,” said Chidsey, who chairs the board of trustees.  “We want to support Davidson's future in a way that moves several institutional priorities forward.”

One part of the Chidseys' gift supports the New Academic Building, phase one of Davidson's Academic Neighborhood, an initiative that received a $45 million lead gift from The Duke Endowment in 2012.

The 10-year construction and renovation plan aims to provide more opportunities for study, research and engagement across campus.

With the Chidseys’ gift, the total amount raised for the $74 million building surpasses $60 million.

A second part of the couple's gift supports scholarships that will make a Davidson education possible for outstanding students.

“I never would have accomplished a tenth of what I have without Davidson. It was a transformative place for me,” John said. “Making sure as many people as possible have the opportunity to attend a place like Davidson is important to us."

Finally, support of the Chidsey Center for Leadership and Development will further prepare students for lives that positively affect the campus, community and world.

The center opened in 2007 thanks to a leadership gift from the couple.

“John and Lisa’s extraordinary investment will enable Davidson to demonstrate the power of our liberal arts experience for students who want to lead in today's world,” President Carol Quillen said. “We are profoundly grateful for their uncompromising commitment to educational excellence, to educational access for all talented students and to the values and vision of Davidson College.”

The Chidseys have supported Davidson College since graduating in 1983.