Monday, December 19, 2011

Hodson Trust Awards $2 Million to WC for Scholarships, Faculty Development, Technology

CHESTERTOWN, MD—The Hodson Trust, Washington College’s single largest benefactor, has awarded $2,004,250 in grants to fund scholarships, faculty development and technology upgrades to the school it has supported for more than nine decades.

In announcing receipt of Hodson’s generous annual gift, College President Mitchell B. Reiss explained that more than $1 million is earmarked for the Hodson Trust Merit Scholarship Fund, which provides four-year awards to full-time students who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement, character and citizenship. Sixty-four current Washington College students receive merit scholarships funded by the Trust. “In this economic climate, these scholarships are vitally important as students and families stretch their resources to meet the cost of a private education,” says Reiss. “The Hodson Trust’s steadfast support in this area is greatly appreciated.”

An additional $44,764 will support ongoing Hodson Trust Star Scholarships for veterans of the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Washington College currently has three veterans enrolled under the program.

Professional development for the faculty is another priority traditionally supported by The Hodson Trust. This year’s gift will add $412,500 to the endowment of the Hodson Trust Faculty Development Fund, established last year to fund competitive grants for faculty research, scholarship, seminars and other opportunities for learning and advancement. An additional $37,500 is available to support grant awards in the coming year. “Our gifted faculty, and the myriad ways in which they share their enthusiasm and expertise with our students, is at the heart of our mission,” said Reiss. “By empowering the faculty to stay current and engaged in their subject areas, we can continue to inspire our students to pursue their own passions.”

The 2011 gift also boosts by $200,000 the endowment for the Hodson Trust Chair in Economics, currently held by associate professor Lisa Daniels.

In response to the College’s technology needs, The Hodson Trust has earmarked $300,000 to help pay for upgrades in admissions software and website architecture. Over the next two years the College will implement a new software program for prospective students and introduce a new website design and content management system.

The Hodson Trust’s generous support of Washington College began more than nine decades ago. The Trust was established in 1920 by the family of Colonel Clarence Hodson to benefit four private educational institutions in Maryland: Washington College, Hood College, St. John’s College and The Johns Hopkins University.

Colonel Hodson, who grew up in Somerset County, founded the Beneficial Loan Society, a groundbreaking home mortgage business that grew into a major financial services corporation. An initial investment of $100 grew over the ensuing decades into a trust that has awarded more than $230 million to the four beneficiary institutions. For more information, visit

Washington College is a private, independent college of liberal arts and sciences founded in Chestertown in 1782 under the patronage of George Washington. It was the first college chartered in the new nation. To learn more, please visit