- Two small liberal arts colleges in Maryland received gifts of over $50 million each last week, the largest in their respective histories, from the Hodson Trust, they announced.
- The trust formally dissolved in November 2022, making last week's gifts one of its final acts. The donations will go toward student scholarships at both colleges.
- Washington College said it received $54.7 million, which will guarantee minimum annual scholarships of $30,000 for prospective students with at least a 3.3 GPA who apply by Dec. 1. The trust gifted Hood College $54 million, which the college is using to boost its endowment and fund for scholarships.
During the Hodson Trust’s roughly 100-year run, it focused on four private institutions in Maryland: Johns Hopkins University, St. John's College, Hood College and Washington College. The trust did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday.
“This final gift is a testament to the incalculable legacy of The Hodson Trust at Hood College and one that will last in perpetuity,” Hood College President Andrea Chapdelaine said Friday.
Hood said the gift will grow its endowment by 42%. In fiscal 2022, Hood’s endowment was valued at $122.5 million, according to data from the National Association of College and University Business Officers.
“Access to higher education is more important than ever; accordingly, Hood has made affordability a major priority,” Chapdelaine said. “By designating these funds exclusively for scholarships, the Hodson trustees will help us meet the financial needs of all students of promise.”
Including the most recent gifts, the Hodson Trust donated more than $150 million each to Hood and Washington colleges during its century-long existence.
In fall 2022, 1 in 5 full-time undergraduate students at Hood received scholarships funded by the trust, according to the college.
At Washington College, donations from the trust led to the Hodson Trust Washington Scholars endowment, which covers full tuition, fees, and room and board costs for students with significant financial need.
With its last gift, the trust increased the college's scholarship endowment to $170 million and its overall endowment to $325 million.
“Access to an outstanding educational experience is a pressing issue for many families today," Washington College President Mike Sosulski said in a statement Thursday. "The Trust’s support of our students’ financial needs expands our ability to ensure access to a wide range of potential students, particularly those who are first-generation or come from underserved communities.”
Donor giving plays a huge role in the financial success of colleges, especially small private institutions that cannot rely solely on their tuition revenue.
The higher education sector saw charitable donations rise 12.5% in the 2022 fiscal year, going from $52.9 billion to $59.5 billion, according to the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. But a small number of large-dollar gifts — like those distributed by the Hodson Trust — were responsible for a disproportionate amount of donations to colleges.