Picture of Colonel Clarence Hodson

The Hodson Trust provides funds that enable the four Maryland colleges to further grow their educational offerings and scholarship programs.


Support Over Eight Decades Tops $198 Million

Baltimore, MD – November 14, 2007 –The Hodson Trust this week awarded grants totaling $14 million to four Maryland colleges, with $3.5 million each going to Hood College, The Johns Hopkins University, Washington College, and St. John's College.  This brings the total awarded to the four Maryland colleges by The Hodson Trust to more than $198 million.  In addition to the annual grants, the Trust, in cooperation with the colleges, this year established the Hodson Trust Star Scholarship program 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.  Hodson believed that credit should be available to the average American, a revolutionary idea in 1914 when he founded the Beneficial Loan Society, which became one of the nation's most successful corporations.

"The Hodson Trust is a bit of Americana," according to Chairman Finn M. W. Caspersen.  "It was founded by a man who had great dreams and very little means.  With an initial gift of a hundred dollars, the Trust has now grown exponentially.  I don"t think Clarence Hodson, in his wildest dreams, could have imagined that his small investment would have produced such an accumulation of capital.  It shows the power of good investments."  Caspersen has been chairman of The Hodson Trust for more than three decades and headed the Beneficial Corporation from 1976 to 1998, a period of dramatic growth for the company.

Investing in talented students is a top priority of The Hodson Trust.  More than half of the $14 million awarded this year will support endowments for Hodson Scholarships, which are awarded by each school to its most academically outstanding students.  "We know these students will make the most of their educations, and go on to make the world a better place," said Caspersen.  "It's a terrific investment."

Hood College President Ron Volpe said, "We greatly appreciate the support and confidence The Hodson Trust has in Hood College.  We will use this gift to enrich our student scholarship endowment, to continue to upgrade academic and administrative technology, and to support student and faculty research."

At Johns Hopkins University, the grant will create the Hodson Trust Nephrology Fellowship and provide continued support for independent research by undergraduates, Hodson Scholarships, cancer research, a book on the prose of T.S. Eliot, and the Hodson Curator of the university archives.  "There are few philanthropic organizations whose influence at this university is as wide-ranging as that of The Hodson Trust," said Johns Hopkins President William R. Brody.  "We are tremendously grateful for The Hodson Trust's generosity, vision and partnership."

"We are a better college and the cause of liberal education has a brighter future because of the generosity of The Hodson Trust," Christopher Nelson, president of St. John's College, said. "It's that simple. Year after year, The Hodson Trust investments in our students and in their campus strengthen every aspect of this college."   This year's grant will fund more Hodson Internships; allow the college to establish a scholarship in memory of Jeffrey A. Bishop, a long-time vice president at St. John's; and support information technology improvements and comprehensive master landscaping and facilities use plans for the 33-acre campus.

At Washington College, The Hodson Trust grant will augment the Hodson Trust Merit Scholarship Endowment, as well as endow a Hodson Trust-John Carter Brown Fellowship at the C. V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience.  The fellowship will support the work of a leading scholar or writer on a book or other major project in early American history.  "We know the importance of understanding our history to build our future," Washington College President Baird Tipson said.  "We are particularly history-conscious this year, as we celebrate the 225th anniversary of the College's founding.  The Hodson Trust support will enable us to keep history's lessons alive – both on our campus as we educate tomorrow's leaders and in the national consciousness through the endowment of serious historical research."

In addition, Washington College, Hood College, and Johns Hopkins University this year awarded Hodson Trust Star Scholarships to a total of six students returning from military duty 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.  "We are pleased to recognize and reward  these men and women  who have served America so well," Caspersen said. "We hope the Hodson Trust Star Scholarship program will encourage others to offer similar programs to our brave servicemen and women as they find their way to make further contributions once back in the United States." 

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