Monday, December 20, 1999

Hodson Trust Awards $2.6 Million to Washington College

Chestertown, MD — The Hodson Trust, established 79 years ago to support higher education in Maryland, recently awarded Washington College $2.6 million. The grant brings the total awarded to the College by the Trust to $29.5 million since 1936.

Since 1920, The Hodson Trust has given more than $93 million to fund academic merit scholarships as well as research grants, technology improvements, building construction, library expansion, athletic programs, faculty salaries and endowment funds at Johns Hopkins University, and Hood, St. John's and Washington colleges.

With the approval of the trust, Washington College has designed a challenge program that will include matching funds for donors wishing to endow professorships and chairs as well as scholarships. The total amount available for this challenge is $10 million over the next four years. The Hodson Trust Challenge will match gifts to endowments of $100,000 or more, doubling the value of other contributions.

Seventy students received Hodson Trust awards at Washington College during the 1999-2000 academic year--six Hodson Minority Foundation Scholarships and 64 Hodson Merit Scholarships. Scholarship awardee Donald H. Holdren Jr.'s strong academic record and involvement in scholastic activities in high school earned him the academic prominence to become a Hodson Scholar. A junior drama and music major, Holdren said, "I was sold on Washington College, except for one very important detail--tuition. Without primary help from The Hodson Trust, obstacles to my attending school would have been insurmountable." President of a student-run drama group based at Washington College that involves members of the Chestertown community, he also serves as a chorister and substitute conductor of the choir at Emmanuel Episcopal Church, both in Chestertown. He plans to sing professionally in opera, get his Ph.D. in music and "teach in a small school not unlike Washington College."

Finn Caspersen, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of The Hodson Trust, whose financial acumen is responsible for the 34 percent increase in the amounts awarded over last year said, "We hope to continue the trend and foster continued success among the institutions and their students. The Trust should show some real growth in two years as our long-term venture capital investments mature."

"Washington College and the many students who have flourished as a result of The Hodson Trust are grateful for our special partnership. The Hodson Challenge will help us continue to strengthen our faculty and support our students," said John S. Toll, President of Washington College.

Tuesday, December 7, 1999

Namesake Plans to Commemmorate Washington's Death

Chestertown, MD — On December 14 an unprecedented national event will take place. Across the country, bells will toll and flags will fly at half-staff in observance of the 200th anniversary of George Washington’s death. The first president’s educational namesake, Washington College, and the community that surrounds the small liberal arts and sciences college will hold a spirited commemoration of Washington’s death on the College’s Chestertown, Md., campus. Beginning at noon, the observance includes a 21-gun salute and musical tributes composed in honor of Washington, a wreath-laying with color guard accompaniment from the Maryland Air National Guard, and a solemn tolling of bells on campus at 1 p.m.

The ceremony at Washington College brings to an end an 18-month celebration of Washington’s life that brought to campus former U.S. president George Bush, the late John F. Kennedy Jr., presidential scholars Doris Kearns Goodwin and Richard Norton Smith, and Smithsonian curator Richard G. Doty.

College President John S. Toll says, "In his commitment to the ideals of scholarship, character, service, and leadership, George Washington has served as a historic role model for Washington College students."

Although most Americans believe they know everything there is to know about Washington, few realize that Washington College was founded in 1782 with his gift of 50 guineas and his permission in writing to use his name, the only school to earn that distinction. Washington served on the College’s Board of Visitors and Governors for five years and received an honorary degree from the College in 1789. Founded as the first college in the new nation, Washington College ranks among the country’s top 150 selective liberal arts colleges.

"With his gift of 50 guineas Washington invested in the future of a young democracy, knowing the new nation would require an educated citizenry in order to succeed," said President Toll.

The Washington Scholars program, a merit scholarship program that grants recipients $40,000 over four years at the College, was founded to carry on that vision. The program is open to members of the National Honor Society and the Cum Laude Society; 52 percent of the College’s 1,150 students were NHS members in high school.

Seventy-three percent of a recent graduating class intended to earn advanced degrees, while 35 percent were enrolled in Ph.D. or master’s degree programs to begin in the fall after their graduation.