Forbes recently reported a groundbreaking financial boost for three private colleges, each of which received record-breaking donations earmarked for student scholarships. The donations, each totaling $50 million or more, are the largest private gifts ever recorded in the histories of these institutions.

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Key Takeaways:

  • Washington & Jefferson College, Washington College, and Hood College each received historical donations ranging from $50 million to $54.7 million.
  • The Hodson Trust granted the two largest gifts, while Anica Donnan Rawnsley donated to Washington & Jefferson.
  • All funds are designated for student scholarships, demonstrating a significant commitment to higher education accessibility.

Washington & Jefferson’s Momentous Gift

Washington & Jefferson College in Pennsylvania announced a generous $50 million estate gift from Anica Donnan Rawnsley, marking the largest contribution in the institution’s 242-year legacy. This donation will fund the Rawnsley scholarship, catering to students from the Washington County, PA region who wish to study at W&J.

“Anica Rawnsley believed passionately in the life-changing power of education,” said W&J President John C. Knapp.

Though Rawnsley herself wasn’t an alumnus, several family members were. Ms. Rawnsley became the first female trustee of the college in 1975, further deepening her family’s ties to the institution.

Washington College’s Scholarship Boost

On the heels of Rawnsley’s donation, Washington College in Maryland received a $54.7 million gift from The Hodson Trust, propelling its student scholarship endowment.

President Mike Sosulski remarked, “This generous gift… expands our ability to ensure access to a wide range of potential students, particularly those who are first-generation or come from underserved communities.”

With this contribution, students with a 3.3 GPA or above can expect a guaranteed minimum scholarship of $120,000 over four years.

Hood College’s Historic Hodson Gift

Rounding out this trio of historic donations, Hood College, also in Maryland, proudly announced a $54 million contribution from The Hodson Trust. This grant is expected to expand the college’s endowment value by a significant 42%.

“By designating these funds exclusively for scholarships, the Hodson trustees will help us meet the financial needs of all students of promise,” said Andrea E. Chapdelaine, Hood’s president.

The Hodson Trust has been a beacon of support for Maryland educational institutions. Established in 1920 by Col. Clarence Hodson, founder of Beneficial Corporation, the Trust has generously funded scholarships, faculty, research, and other pivotal projects for various colleges in Maryland, including Hood College, St. John’s College, Johns Hopkins University, and Washington College. Their recent gifts solidify a legacy of philanthropy, ensuring that students continue to benefit from quality education for generations to come.

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