The Colgate Scene
March 2005

Colgate's million-dollar donors

James B. Colgate Society inductees (front row, from left): Dick Herbst '69, Peter O'Brien '67, Bob Meyerhoff '49, Mike Poulos '53, Bob Fox '59; (back row) Toby Wesson '64, John Runnette '54, Chase Carey '76 [Enlarge]
[Photos by Timothy D. Sofranko]

In the history of Colgate, 66 alumni, parents, and friends have contributed gifts of $1 million or more to the university.

Ten years ago the university formed the James B. Colgate Society -- named for the first million-dollar donor -- to recognize the generosity of those supporters. On January 29, the society convened with trustees and guests for the sixth time to welcome 16 new members during a black-tie dinner at New York's St. Regis Hotel.

"It is hard to find words to thank those who invest so much in the future of our young men and women," said President Rebecca Chopp. "I wish I could show you the faces of the students who, through their extraordinary energy and with your support, will carry Colgate into the future."

John Golden '66 (right), chair of the Board of Trustees, and John Cushman '63 (center)
All told, members of the James B. Colgate Society have contributed more than $158 million over the university's history. Gifts from Dan Benton '80 account for more than $15 million of that total. The late Curtiss Frank '20 structured his gifts through planned giving arrangements that currently total more than $14 million. Another member of the society -- Robert H.N. Ho '56 -- has recently confirmed a commitment of $25 million that will enable the university to move forward with plans for an interdisciplinary science center. One of the newest members, John K. Runnette '54, is funding the Arnold A. Sio Chair in Diversity and Community with an outright gift, and has committed to estate gifts that will benefit Colgate in the future.

The new class of society members includes one anonymous donor and the first member of the faculty to be inducted. A $1 million bequest from Ivo Malan, professor of romance languages and literatures emeritus, announced at the time of his death in 2002, supports the Beatrice and Ivo Malan Library Fund and the Malan Scholarship Fund for Native American students.

The other members inducted posthumously include Herman Copen, a retired businessman with no previous Colgate affiliation, who left the university an important collection of African art; and alumni James Dempsey '21 and C. Eugene Wilson '38.

Judy Little and her late husband, Wm. Brian Little '64, former chair of the Board of Trustees, are the principal benefactors of the art and art history building, Little Hall, completed in 2001. Judy Little this year became the fourth woman named to the society.

Current and emeritus trustees inducted into the society in January in addition to Runnette include Chase G. Carey '76, Richard W. Herbst '69, G. Peter O'Brien '67, Michael J. Poulos '53, and Bruce F. "Toby" Wesson '64.

The other members of the James B. Colgate Society Class of 2005 include Lawrence A. Bossidy '57, Robert A. Fox '59, Arthur B. Johnson '51, and Robert H. Meyerhoff '49.

"Some of these donors took us by surprise," said President Chopp, "others have been known to us through years of voluntary service and support. And each has provided support that makes it possible for Colgate students to enjoy one of the finest educations available anywhere.

"Major support such as that provided by the members of the James B. Colgate Society is thrilling and significant as we implement the elements of our strategic plan," she said. "The university is equally indebted to the thousands of alumni, parents, and friends whose support of the Annual Fund and capital projects enriches the Colgate experience for our students every day in myriad ways."

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