BENNINGTON -- Over the past three months, Southern Vermont College has received more than $2 million in donations, both monetary and otherwise, that will support scholarships, resources for faculty and staff, and fund campus beautification efforts. Among the plethora of donations came a gift totaling $1.225 million from a Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund and a charitable trust, and the largest in the school's history.
According to SVC administrators, the funds will support scholarships and financial aid for the Mountaineer Scholars, a program designed for first-generation and low-income college students.
In addition, Deborah Wiley, chairwoman of the SVC Board of Trustees, has donated $175,000 in support of SVC's continued growth and achievements.
"My belief in the mission of SVC and the successes they have achieved was the motivation for my donation," she said.
Two other gifts totaling $35,000 from SVC Trustee John Baackes, president of AmeriHealth Medicare Plans, Philadelphia, and a first-time donor, will also be utilized to support student programs.
SVC also received a gift of $80,000 from the Milton & Dorothy Sarnoff Raymond and Alice Shaver foundations, both of which, according to SVC administrators, have acted as longtime supporters of the college.
In addition to monetary gifts, donations for the beautification of the school's campus were also made.
SVC alumnus Ira Wagner and his wife, Marcia, of Bethesda, Md., purchased the Gate House located at the entrance to the campus, which will be renovated over the next year and then leased to SVC at a nominal cost.
With this purchase, the Gate House, located at 897 Monument Ave. in Bennington, will be reunited with the other buildings comprising the Edward Everett estate dating back to 1911.
Plans for the building are still in development, though utilizing the Gate House as a new welcome center for prospective students and families, community members, and visitors is under consideration.
This donation is in addition to a gift of $250,000 from the Wagners in April.
"Marcia and I deeply believe in the mission of SVC," Wagner said. "I know that the college will continue graduating students with thriving careers in the years to come."
All money donated to the college will support SVC programs, including international travel and academic programs for students and faculty.
SVC President Karen Gross explained that the funds would, in part, support the college's new Veterans Scholar Program, as well as resources for faculty and staff development.
"We at SVC are committed to preparing our students for engaged and prosperous lives well after graduation," said Gross. "I am grateful to our generous trustees and other supporters for their continued belief in SVC and its mission."
Classes for SVC students will begin on Sept. 5.
Contact Elizabeth Conkey at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @bethconkey.