Picture of Colonel Clarence Hodson

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December 3, 2009


Frederick, Maryland – December 3, 2009 – With many college endowments hammered by an economy struggling to rebound, the announcement of a big gift is music to any administrator's ears.

Hood College President Ronald J. Volpe can vouch for that.
On Friday, Volpe accepted a check for just under $3.5 million from The Hodson Trust, a longtime benefactor of Hood and three other Maryland colleges and universities.

"In this environment, and in this economy, to get a gift of this size is just amazing," he said Monday. "And it couldn"t have happened at a better time."

Of the award, about $1.7 million is earmarked for Hood's Hodson Scholars Endowment. About $25,000 will be contributed to the Hodson Trust Star Scholarship program, established two years ago for Maryland veterans who have served in the military in Iraq and Afghanistan. The remaining $1.7 million will be used to fund improvements to residence halls, faculty development, academic programs and other campus initiatives.

"Some of the money will go toward a new boiler plant we're trying to develop on campus," Volpe said.

The Hodson Trust was settled in 1920 by the family of Col. Clarence Hodson, who grew up in Maryland and founded the Beneficial Loan Society. In addition to Hood, the trust financially supports Washington College, St. John's College and Johns Hopkins University.

The most recent gift brings the Hodson Trust's total investment in Hood to more than $67 million since 1936. The trust has given more than $220 million to the four schools in that time.

The money, from both the trust and the Hodson Scholarship Foundation, has been used to support scholarships, has endowed professorships, athletic programs, research grants and internships, and has helped build and upgrade campus facilities.

Last year, Hood received just over $4 million, with about $3 million earmarked for capital projects. About $1 million was put toward the construction of a new artificial surface athletic field, and a new sprinkler system was installed in a residence hall, Volpe said.
"These are things we could not pay for out of our operating budget," he said.

The president said he is grateful for the confidence in Hood shown by the Hodson Trust's Board of Trustees.

"Investment income is down and endowments are shrinking," he said. "To receive a gift of this size is overwhelming and speaks to the belief the trust has in Hood's mission."

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Baltimore, Maryland – February 1, 2010 – Unless you stumbled upon it, you probably wouldn't know about the Hodson Scholars Luncheon. For decades, it's been an annual tradition on the Homewood campus, bringing administrators, faculty and a select group of students together each December to acknowledge and celebrate a remarkable ongoing relationship that stretches back more than half a century. At the most recent luncheon, executives of the Hodson Trust—a charitable organization that exclusively supports just four Maryland educational institutions—announced awards totaling more than $1.74 million to The Johns Hopkins University for scholarships, research in oncology and nephrology, and publication of The Complete Prose of T.S. Eliot. The contribution brings total Hodson Trust giving to the university to nearly $72 million since the first gift was made in 1958, leading university President Ronald J. Daniels to observe that "there are few other philanthropic organizations whose legacy at Johns Hopkins has been as profound and wide-ranging as that of the Hodson Trust."

photo of Hodson Scholars and James H. Gilliam Sr. and Linda GJ. Gilliam

Provost Lloyd Minor, Hodson Scholar Andrew Farber-Miller, Hodson-Gilliam Success Scholar Ashela Bean, Hodson Trust Chairman Gerald Holm and President Ronald J. Daniels at December's Hodson Scholars Luncheon.

Through 2009 the Hodson Trust has awarded more than $217 million to Johns Hopkins, Hood College, St. John's College and Washington College, the four Maryland schools it supports in honor of its namesake, Col. Clarence Hodson, a Maryland resident who pioneered the concept of making small loans available to ordinary working-class Americans. In 1914 he established the Beneficial Loan Society, which eventually became one of the nation's most successful lending institutions. Its trademarked jingle—At Beneficial, TOOT TOOT, You're Good for More—remains instantly recognizable to generations of Americans. The company became part of Household International, now HSBC, in 1998. The Hodson Trust was settled in 1920 with shares of Beneficial by members of the colonel's family with the express intention that it would be devoted to supporting education.

Over the course of more than half a century, the bulk of Hodson Trust giving to Johns Hopkins has been in the form of undergraduate scholarship aid, which currently falls into two categories. Hodson Scholarships are merit-based awards that cover roughly two-thirds of the cost of tuition each year for four years, and are offered to prospective students who both demonstrate exceptional academic achievement and make outstanding contributions beyond the classroom. Hodson-Gilliam Success Scholarships are need-based awards aimed specifically at underrepresented minorities and are intended to relieve a prospective student of the loan portion of his or her total financial aid package. This year, 82 students hold Hodson Scholarships, and 26 others are Hodson-Gilliam Success Scholars. According to Hodson Trust Chairman Gerald Holm, the focus on students of extraordinary promise is intended to bring a better future for all. "We are confident that we are investing in students who will make the most of their educations and go on to change the world for the better," he says.

The annual Hodson luncheon is a celebration of those exceptional students. All Hodson Scholars and Hodson-Gilliam Success Scholars are invited, along with the university president and provost, Hodson Trust board members and guests, and some faculty. Each year, one Hodson scholar and one Success scholar are asked to speak about what scholarship support has meant for their time at Johns Hopkins.

Hodson Scholar Andrew Farber-Miller, a senior who spoke at the December luncheon, says that he tried to convey the unparalleled opportunity the Hodson scholarship afforded him. "Coming to a prestigious university like Hopkins is a tremendous opportunity and challenge," he says. "The Hodson Scholarship made it possible for me to take advantage of all that Hopkins has to offer inside and outside the classroom. The financial benefits were significant for me. Not having to hold a job during the academic year gave me the freedom to concentrate on my studies and also gave me the time to be able to make a contribution to the Hopkins community in other ways. The prestige associated with the scholarship provided an extra incentive for me to strive for excellence in everything I have done here." After graduation in May, Farber-Miller plans to enroll in post-baccalaureate training and then go to medical school. At Johns Hopkins, he has participated in extracurricular activities related to his public health major, fraternity life and basketball, and he is an active volunteer with his hometown fire department.

Bill Conley, dean of enrollment and academic services, says of the scholarships, "The Hodson Trust enables us to look at the cream of admitted students and encourage their enrollment. Our pool of candidates is as strong as any pool at any school. These scholarships give us an opportunity to shape the class, and are a tremendous inducement for the students to choose Hopkins," he says. "The fact of the matter is that we have a very low scholarship endowment relative to our peers, and what scholarship dollars we have are a critical tool in the recruitment and retention of students."

The trust's generosity to Johns Hopkins has taken many other forms over the years, most notably with the construction in 2002 of the Homewood campus's Hodson Hall, a $15 million, 44,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art academic building that also houses the university's board of trustees meeting room. In addition, the Provost's Undergraduate Research Awards—which have become an integral part of the undergraduate learning experience on the Homewood campus—were sponsored and eventually completely funded by the Hodson Trust.

In 2006, the trust broke new ground by agreeing to support the research and publication of an eight-volume series of the complete prose of T.S. Eliot. "This project will transform people's notions of Eliot," predicts Kathleen Keane, director of the Johns Hopkins University Press. "The Hodson Trust made a very innovative and far-sighted grant that will enable us not only to publish the papers but to fund the scholarly work needed to put it together. This is a truly transformative project that simply wouldn't have happened without their support." Ronald Schuchard, a renowned Eliot scholar and a professor at Emory University, is leading the project, which will also allow the Press to develop the electronic edition of The Complete Prose of T.S. Eliot.

"Overall, the Hodson Trust has been just a huge benefactor to Johns Hopkins," says senior admissions officer John Birney, who relies on the Hodson Scholarships to help shape incoming undergraduate classes. "It's not only the scholarships but also their support of things like the Provost's Undergraduate Research Awards, the construction of one of our most advanced classroom buildings and so much else. They do a lot of good for Johns Hopkins that often goes unrecognized. But this is how much Hodson means to us: They are a great addition to the Hopkins family. Plain and simple, we couldn't enroll these exceptional students without their help. These students wouldn't be here without the Hodson Trust."

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