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Office of News and Information
Johns Hopkins University
901 South Bond Street, Suite 540
Baltimore, Maryland 21231
Phone: 443-287-9960 | Fax: 443-287-9920

December 3, 2008
CONTACT: Eileen Dickey

Hodson Trust Support over Eight Decades Tops $210 Million
Awards $12 Million to Four Maryland Colleges

Baltimore, MD — The Hodson Trust this week awarded grants totaling $12 million to four Maryland colleges, bringing the total awarded over the life of the Trust to more than $210 million. Grants of $3 million each went to Hood College, St. John's College, Johns Hopkins University, and Washington College. In addition the Trust, in cooperation with the colleges, continues to support the Hodson Trust Star Scholarship program, established last year, for men and women who have served in the military in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Hodson Trust was settled in 1920 by the family of Colonel Clarence Hodson, who grew up in Maryland. The initial investment was just $100, according to Finn M.W. Caspersen, chairman of the Hodson Trust for more than three decades. "Reaching the $210 million mark in total giving is a tremendous milestone, and a remarkable tribute to Colonel Hodson's vision," he said.

Hodson believed that credit should be available to the average American, a revolutionary idea in 1914 when he founded the Beneficial Loan Society. Beneficial became one of the nation's most successful corporations. Caspersen headed the company from 1976 to 1998, a period of dramatic growth for the company.

"The Hodson Trust has built strong partnerships over many decades with the four outstanding educational institutions we support," he commented. "It is deeply gratifying to see the impressive return on the Hodson Trust's investments at each of these schools — reflected in the accomplishments of their faculty and students and in the excellence of their academic and extracurricular programs," Caspersen said.

At Washington College, the Hodson Trust grant will advance two strategic priorities: renovation and expansion of Hodson Hall, the College's dining and student center; and construction of a boathouse on an important new parcel of waterfront property, which will greatly enhance the College's academic programs and recreational opportunities on the Chester River. "These are exciting times on campus, as we welcome the largest-ever freshman class in our 226-year history and complete a number of much anticipated capital projects," said President Baird Tipson. "On a number of crucial fronts, the Hodson Trust is helping Washington College to grow both the quality of its educational program and the appearance and function of key campus facilities."

"The Hodson Trust's extraordinary investments in Johns Hopkins are making a profound difference in the life of this institution and the lives of those we serve," said President William R. Brody. This year's Hodson grant will fund independent research by undergraduates, cancer research, fellowships in nephrology, publication of T.S. Eliot's prose, and a curatorship for the university archives. "We are grateful to the Hodson Trust for their enduring partnership and their support of some of the University's most important initiatives."

At Hood College, the Hodson Trust funds "will make an enormous impact on the quality of student life," according to President Ron Volpe. The grant will support upgrades to the college's five main residence halls and other campus improvements, including installation of a new outdoor playing field and related improvements. "This will be a major boost for our intercollegiate teams, and benefit all students who participate in recreation and intramurals," Volpe said.

The Hodson grant allows St. John's College to meet in full a $1 million challenge grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), which required that the college raise an additional $3 million. NEH's "We the People" program encourages and enhances the teaching, study, and understanding of American history, culture, and democratic principles. St. John's, where all students read the founding documents of the U.S., will use the NEH and Hodson grants to strengthen library collections in political science, history, and related fields; offer lectures by prominent scholars on American themes; support faculty study groups on themes in American history and literature; and provide educational programs open to the public. President Christopher Nelson said, "Those arts, and the study of documents and books, that form the foundations of our American democracy are critical for the exercise of responsible citizenship. The generosity of the Hodson Trust ensures that these foundations will receive the dedicated attention they deserve for the benefit of our faculty, students, and community." Three schools this year awarded Hodson Trust Star Scholarships to a total of eight students who have served in the military in Iraq and Afghanistan. The awards fully fund tuition, room and board, books, and other mandatory fees that are not otherwise met by federal, state, and other private sources. Four Hodson Star Scholars enrolled at Washington College, one at Johns Hopkins' Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, and three at Hood College.