LOWELL — UMass Lowell alumnus Brian Rist will donate $5 million to his alma mater, the largest contribution in the school’s history, to support its entrepreneurship programs and sustainability efforts, leaders announced Friday.

Rist, 64, graduated from the university in 1977 before beginning a successful career in business. For two and a half decades, he has been the owner of Storm Smart, a Florida company that sells storm-protection equipment for homeowners. He lives in Cape Coral, Fla.

In an interview, Rist said he has seen UMass Lowell undergo significant changes in recent years, encouraging him to support its next steps.

“I just really believe that the whole area the university’s on and the city has come so far,” he said. “I’d like to help them go a little further.”

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