Facility at Johns Hopkins
The Hodson Trust, which has given tens of millions of dollars over 79 years to four Maryland colleges, has committed $13 million to The Johns Hopkins University for a new multi-use building on the Homewood campus.
The four-story, 50,000-square foot building will contain state-of-the-art classrooms, a board of trustees meeting room and a conference room. It will also house the archives of The Hodson Trust.
At a ceremony at the university on July 7, Finn M.W. Caspersen, chairman of the board of The Hodson Trust, recalled the history of the trust, created in 1920 by Maryland lawyer and state senator Thomas Hodson. His son, Clarence, a lawyer and banker who was commissioned a colonel in the Maryland Militia, provided the trust's assets. Clarence Hodson had 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 last year into Household International, was the largest consumer credit company in the United States.
The colonel also became involved with Washington College in Maryland as a benefactor and member of the Board of Visitors and Governors. After he died in 1928, his family and The Hodson Trust expanded its support of education in Maryland by including Hood College, Johns Hopkins and St. John's College.
Since 1920, The Hodson Trust has given more than $84 million to the four Maryland schools for merit scholarships, research grants, technology improvements, building construction, library expansion, athletic programs and endowments.
Caspersen was chairman and CEO of Beneficial Corp. from 1976 until its merger with Household International in 1998. During his tenure, the market capitalization of Beneficial Corp. grew from $480 million to $8.8 billion. That 18-fold increase greatly benefitted the Hodson Trust, the assets of which were invested in Beneficial stock. Caspersen is now chairman and CEO of Knickerbocker LLC, a private management firm that invests in both public and private equity situations.
"The Hodson Trust continues to replicate itself," Caspersen said. "In the tradition of Clarence Hodson, who generated hundreds of thousands of dollars from a $100 beginning, the trust continues to multiply, with a multi-billion-dollar goal in sight early in the next millennium."
William R. Brody, president of Johns Hopkins, said that the university is grateful for the gift and honored to be the repository of The Hodson Trust archives.
"In this way," he remarked, "we will help preserve the heritage of The Hodson Trust, its association with Finn Caspersen and the Beneficial Corp., and their innovative and dedicated leadership in American education and business."
The name and location of the new building and its construction schedule are under consideration by trustees of both The Hodson Trust and the university. The building will be an element of the new master plan for the Homewood campus now under development.
The Hodson Trust's gift counts toward the Johns Hopkins Initiative, which has total commitments of $1.269 billion as of July 31. The campaign, which recently exceeded its increased goal of $1.2 billion, is scheduled to conclude in June 2000 and will continue to focus on ongoing needs, particularly student aid, the libraries and facilities.
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