The Hodson Trust has made a gift of $2,377,788 to Washington College to endow merit-based scholarships and support the College’s Washington Scholars program. Representatives of the Trust presented the gift to President Michael J. Sosulski in Baltimore on Dec. 8.
“The Hodson Trust has been such a generous supporter of Washington College and our students for, remarkably, over 85 years,” Sosulski said. “We are enormously grateful that the Hodson trustees continue to provide our students with the means to succeed and thrive at this college where the nation’s liberal arts education first took shape. Ours is a historic partnership whose story grows more vibrant with every decade, and we are sincerely thankful.”
This year’s donation provides $1,188,894 to The Hodson Trust Merit Scholarship endowment, and $1,888,894 to support the Washington Scholars program. Established in 2016 by former College President Sheila Bair and originally known as “George’s Brigade,” the Washington Scholars program provides full tuition, room, and board to high-achieving students who are passionate about and dedicated to their academic pursuits, but whose economic situations may otherwise preclude a higher education. About 10 students are selected for the program each year from a wide pool of nominated candidates from around the country. More than a financial support program, the Washington Scholars program provides its students with social, emotional, and academic support; leadership development activities; and career development and placement. To date, 62 Washington Scholars have enrolled at Washington College, with 27 having graduated in the past two years.
“The Washington Scholars program provides opportunity for exceptional students to seize the chance to steer their futures,” said Lorna Hunter, vice president for enrollment management. “Their achievements remind us that higher education can make all the difference for those who believe in themselves, and The Hodson Trust is helping to pave their way.”
The Hodson Trust is the College’s largest single benefactor. Starting with a grant of $18,191.12 in 1935, the Trust has given Washington College more than $80 million. The Trust that was established in 1920 by the family of Col. Clarence Hodson benefits four Maryland educational institutions: Washington College, Hood College, St. John’s College of Annapolis, and The Johns Hopkins University. Hodson, who received the honorary degree Doctor of Laws from Washington College in 1922, served on the College’s Board of Visitors and Governors from 1920 until his death in 1928.
Hodson, who grew up in Somerset County, Maryland, founded the Beneficial Loan Society to make small loans available to working-class Americans at affordable interest rates. This groundbreaking business grew into the Beneficial Corporation, one of the largest consumer finance companies in the United States. An initial investment of $100 grew over the ensuing decades into a trust that has awarded more than $250 million to the four beneficiary institutions. For more information, visit www.hodsontrust.org.
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