This year the Hodson Trust has distributed a record grant of $17 million to four Maryland colleges, surpassing the $110 million mark in cumulative grants to Johns Hopkins and to Hood, Washington and St. John's colleges.
This year's donation, buoyed by a strong stock market, is the largest grant ever given by the Hodson Trust to these four educational institutions.
Johns Hopkins received approximately $8.5 million, $5 million of which will go toward the construction of Hodson Hall; other monies will support five programs previously funded by the trust.
The Hodson Trust was settled in 1920 by the family of Col. Clarence Hodson, who founded the Beneficial Loan Society in 1914 to make small loans available to working-class Americans. The society became Beneficial Corp., which, when it merged in 1998 into Household International, was the largest consumer credit company in the United States.
The trust has honored Hodson's interest in higher education through the donation of millions of dollars to the four colleges for merit scholarships, research grants, technology improvements, building construction, library expansion, athletic programs and endowments. Under the stewardship of Finn M.W. Caspersen, who was chairman and CEO of Beneficial Corp. from 1976 until its merger with Household International, the trust's donations have grown from $12.6 million to more than $110 million in the past 24 years.
"We believe that by supporting excellence in education we can help create opportunities for the leaders of tomorrow," Caspersen said. "We hope to continue providing funds that enable these institutions to further grow their educational offerings and scholarship programs."
Hodson Hall, to be constructed on the Homewood campus, will be a three-story, 48,000-square-foot building containing state-of-the-art classrooms and lecture halls, an auditorium and the historic records of the Hodson Trust and Beneficial Corp., as well as meeting space for the university's board of trustees. Construction is scheduled to begin in late spring 2001.
The Hodson scholarship endowment will receive $1.5 million to support the Hodson Scholars program, which annually awards merit scholarships, currently $18,500 a year for four years, to 17 to 20 freshmen.
The Milton S. Eisenhower Library Digital Knowledge Center will be given $500,000, its second gift of $500,000 toward a goal of $2.5 million.
The cancer research building will receive $400,000, bringing the funds received so far to $600,000 toward a goal of $1 million.
Another $400,000 has been earmarked for the Provost's Undergraduate Research Awards. Through this program, begun in 1993, about 50 students each year have been awarded up to $2,500 to propose and conduct original research.
The Hodson Young Investigator in Oncology program will be granted $200,000 for start-up research funding for innovative projects.
Commenting on the grant, William R. Brody, president of the university, said, "Over the years, the Hodson Trust has been one of the biggest and most consistent supporters of the mission of The Johns Hopkins University. But this year's generous gift is unprecedented. We are tremendously grateful for the continued support for the Hodson Scholarships, the Hodson Young Investigator in Oncology award, the Provost's Undergraduate Research Awards and the commitments the Hodson Trust has made to the Eisenhower Library's Digital Knowledge Center and our new cancer research and clinical buildings.
"Donors are precious," Brody continued, "but partners, like the Hodson Trust, are priceless. We will always remember and appreciate all they have done on our behalf."
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