Small Kentucky college loses single largest donation ever to liberal arts school
A small college in Kentucky made history a few months ago when it announced a $250 million donation from a charitable trust — the largest single donation ever to a liberal arts college.
And Centre College, 35 miles south of Lexington, is making headlines again — as it has now lost the single-largest donation in the history of American liberal arts colleges.
The A. Eugene Brockman Charitable Trust will no longer supply the donation that would have provided 40 full scholarships annually to the school of 1,350 undergraduates, the college announced Monday.
In a statement, Centre College said the donation "was linked to a significant capital market event, which put considerable time pressure on efforts to structure the gift and the proposed scholarship program."
The donation was announced July 30. The Associated Press reported today that Centre College officials expressed "a sense of disappointment and loss" in announcing the sudden withdrawal of the money. The AP also reported that the son of the trust's founder, Robert T. "Bob" Brockman, declined comment when reached. The younger Brockman attended Centre College for a couple years, but got a degree elsewhere.
Centre College Vice President Richard Trollinger told the AP that "for reasons unknown to us," the donation was withdrawn.
In a statement, the college said: "In the end, the parties determined that it was not possible to finalize these matters and get the required approvals from both sides in the time available."
So what actually happened to the money and why was there such a tight timeframe for creating the scholarship program?
One clue could be in the announcement in July. According to Philanthropy News Digest July 31, the donation was actually "a gift of stock valued at $250 million."
"The shares of Universal Computer Systems, Inc. will be used to create an endowment that funds forty Brockman Scholarships a year for students majoring in economics and the natural and computational sciences," according to the report.