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 $184 Million

Baltimore, Maryland – November 28, 2007 – The Hodson Trust this week awarded grants totaling $18 million to four Maryland colleges, with $4.5 million each going to St. John's College, Hood College, Washington College, and Johns Hopkins University.

Hodson Trust Chairman Finn M. W. Caspersen pointed out that these grants are the largest in the Trust's 86-year history. "The impact of the Hodson Trust's support is exponential – reflected not only in the accomplishments of the generations of students the Trust has supported, but also in the ever-growing contributions of these students to society."

With this year's grants, the Hodson Trust has awarded more than $184 million to the four Maryland colleges. These funds have endowed academic merit scholarships and supported research, academic programs, new facilities, professorships, and other initiatives to advance the missions of the four Maryland educational institutions.

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. Beneficial, which became one of the nation's most successful corporations, was headed by Caspersen from 1976 to 1998 and is now part of HSBC. During Caspersen's tenure, the market capitalization of Beneficial Corporation grew from $480 million to $8.8 billion, an 18-fold increase.

At Washington College, the Hodson Trust grant will augment the Hodson Trust Merit Scholarship Endowment for outstanding students, as well as endow the Hodson Trust-Griswold Directorship and programming for the C. V. Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience. "We know the importance of understanding our history to build our future," Washington College President Baird Tipson said. "The Hodson Trust support will enable us to keep those lessons alive on our campus and in our nation as we educate tomorrow's leaders."

"We are deeply grateful for the Hodson Trust's extraordinary generosity," said Johns Hopkins University President William R. Brody. "In addition to supporting priority programs we have long associated with the Trust, this year's grant will underwrite publication of the collected prose of T. S. Eliot by the Johns Hopkins University Press and will establish the Hodson Center for Cancer Research Scholars," Brody said. "These projects are enormously exciting and will create an additional visible testament to the enduring partnership between the Hodson Trust and Johns Hopkins." The grant also will provide continued support for Hodson Scholarships and Hodson-Gilliam Success Scholarships, which benefit undergraduate students; the Provost's Undergraduate Research Awards program; and an endowment for the curator of the university archives.

Hood College President Ron Volpe said, "The ongoing generosity of the Hodson Trust over the past 70 years has literally shaped the Hood College campus. We are deeply appreciative of not only this gift but also the support from Finn Caspersen and the Hodson Trustees during this momentous time in Hood's history." Volpe added, "As we move into our fifth year as a fully coeducational college, we continue to make necessary and important campus enhancements, to which this gift will be directed. This generous gift will assure that Hood College continues to grow and to progress."

According to St. John's College President Christopher Nelson, "A significant portion of this munificent gift will allow the college to establish a fellowship program for teachers to attend the Graduate Institute, thus allowing us to get a substantial head-start on something that has long been a dream of St. John's – to give our nation's primary and secondary school teachers an opportunity to enjoy for themselves the benefits of a liberal education. We imagine that this gift will in turn have the effect of helping these teachers inspire the next generation of young people to come to have a love of learning for its own sake." He added, "The college is profoundly grateful for the generosity of the Hodson Trust."

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