In 1931 William T. Patten willed virtually his entire estate to IU. At that time it was the largest single gift ever pledged to the Bloomington campus. The gift was in the form of Liberty war bonds and Indiana municipal and county bonds which were held in trust by the university. Patten, not a wealthy man, received income from the trust funds until his death in 1936 when the university endowed the William T. Patten Foundation. Patten designated his remarkable gift "for the sole purpose of bringing to Indiana University, a succession of persons...of high distinction in some field of learning, or art." A strong supporter of public higher education, he believed that private philanthropy was necessary to enhance its quality.