BRENDAN CLARK ’21
Trinity College has received an unrestricted bequest in the amount of $12.3 million dollars from Charles Guilford Woodward ’98, an alumnus and former trustee of the college. Woodward mandated that the funds be used at the discretion of the College. The gift comes 68 years after Woodward’s death.
Woodward, who died in 1950, had previously given the contents of his economics and sociology libraries to the school and established a trust that provided scholarships to Trinity students, according to a Sept. 13, 2018 press release from Trinity’s Office of Communications. Woodward established the trust prior to his death to support his children and grandchildren. The total value is presently $80 million dollars and Trinity was the largest recipient of the trust, getting 15% of its value.
Vice President for College Advancement Michael T. Casey spoke to the Tripod about the significance of the gift’s unrestricted nature, adding that “there is no greater gift you can give for an unrestricted endowment.” The unrestricted nature of the gift allows Trinity to allocate money to support annual operations, deferred maintenance, and other critical functions of the college at its discretion, as opposed to restricted gifts for specific organizations, such as fraternities or sports teams. Casey added, in the Sept. 13 press release, that the gift was a “demonstration of deep and unequivocal confidence in the core values of an institution that he clearly treasured.”
The $12.3 million will not be managed by Trinity, but will instead be invested and managed by an outside financial firm retained by Mr. Woodward’s estate. Trinity will receive approximately 5% per year, amounting to approximately $615,000.00. As with Trinity’s endowment, Casey indicated the potential for the “additional benefit of growth,” meaning that Trinity could realize more than the $12.3 million bequest. Trinity College President and Professor of Neuroscience Joanne Berger-Sweeney spoke to the Tripod and expressed her support for this generous gift, indicating that “we always appreciate alumni support for Trinity’s students and faculty.”
Casey indicated that Trinity plans to use the $12.3 million to help it reach targets in the general endowment category, a critical feature of the College’s Bicentennial Strategic Plan and annual budgeting process. Casey added that when Trinity “builds budgets, we anticipate growth in a number of revenue categories, and this will allow us to meet our target.”
The Sept. 13 press release included details of Woodward’s connections and time at Trinity. Woodward, a Hartford native, attended Trinity like his father, P. Henry Woodward, who served as a trustee. While at Trinity, Woodward studied economics and sociology, was a member of the track team, and was a brother of Psi Upsilon. After graduation, he became a member of the Association of Alumni of Trinity College and worked as a financial statistician at Connecticut General Life Insurance Company. Woodward later served on the Trinity College Board of Trustees from 1917 until his death.
Berger-Sweeney expressed her gratitude, indicating that Woodward’s generosity was “a testament to how much he valued his Trinity College education.” Berger-Sweeney added that “it is rather remarkable that this support is from an alumnus who attended Trinity more than a century ago, but whose giving will make an extraordinary difference here at Trinity far into the future.” Casey echoed her comments, stating that Woodward’s gift is “an affirmation of the value of Trinity’s mission and the value of Trinity College in the world” and, in the Sept. 13 release, indicated that “we are truly grateful for such meaningful support.”
The Hartford Courant, in a Sept. 13, 2018 article by Ruth Bruno covering the gift, indicated that “Woodward’s donation is the latest from multiple alumni who have left similar bequests over the last few months, totaling more than $20 million.”