Along with encouraging new growth at the Lyon Arboretum, the latest contribution will provide scholarships to Hawaii's community college students moving into a four-year university.
Things are also looking up for the Institute for Astronomy, one of four other departments receiving money to keep the University of Hawaii aiming high academically.
"The state funding and tuition funding helps maintain the overall operations, but if you want to make that next level of excellence private donations make all the difference and this one will," said UH Vice President John Morton.
Money will also go to the construction of the new Culinary Institute of the Pacific at Diamond Head.
While the donor is anonymous now, his identity will be revealed after his death when the signature restaurant at the new facility will be named after him.