Washington College receives historic gift from Hodson Trust; $54.7 million will provide financial support for students

CHESTERTOWN — The Hodson Trust’s final gift to Washington College also is its largest: $54.7 million, earmarked to provide financial support to students. 

The trust was established in 1920 by the family of Beneficial Corporation founder Col. Clarence Hodson.

The trust has been a longtime supporter of Washington College and its largest benefactor, having now donated more than $150 million beginning with a grant of $18,191.12 in 1935.

Washington College is one of four Maryland institutions of higher education that The Hodson Trust supports. The others are Hood College, St. John’s College and Johns Hopkins University.

This latest allocation, which Washington College announced in a news release Thursday, Oct. 12, is part of the dissolution of the trust.

According to the news release, the Hodson gift will grow the college’s scholarship endowment to about $170 million and its overall endowment to $325 million.

President Mike Sosulski characterized the latest gift as “truly transformative.”

In the news release, Sosulski said the trust’s support expands Washington’s ability to ensure access to a wide range of potential students, particularly those who are first-generation college students or come from underserved communities.

As a result of the Hodson gift, Washington College will guarantee a minimum scholarship of $30,000 per year ($120,000 over four years) to any incoming student with at least a 3.3 grade point average who applies by Dec. 1.

Students may qualify for more aid based on their academic performance.

The Hodson Trust Washington Scholars endowment, which provides full tuition, fees and the cost of room and board for students with significant financial need, also will benefit from this gift.

Vice President for Enrollment Johnnie Johnson said this scholarship opportunity “will allow us to continue to grow the diversity of our campus community and enhance the intellectual environment of the college.” 

For almost 90 years, The Hodson Trust has contributed to Washington College in a number of ways, including establishing or contributing to endowments that support student scholarships; undergraduate research and internship stipends; faculty chairs, salary enhancement and professional development funds; and the college’s signature academic centers.

In addition, The Hodson Trust contributed to the construction of Hodson Hall, Hodson Boathouse, Lelia Hynson Boating Park and Pavilion and the John Toll Science Center. 

The Hodson family legacy at Washington College includes three generations serving on the Board of Visitors and Governors: Col. Hodson, his daughter Lelia Hodson Hynson and granddaughter Sally Hynson Hopkins.

Col. Hodson, who received the honorary degree Doctor of Laws in 1922, served on the Board of Visitors and Governors from 1920 until his death in 1928.  

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