The Slate60

Honorable Mentions211 other known gifts of more than $1 million in 1997

71. A. VAN H. BERNHARD–$4 million to QUINNIPIAC COLLEGE (Conn.), the largest single gift in the history of the 69-year-old institution. $1 million will go toward the college’s library and $3 million to endow a professorship in economics and the directorship of the college’s learning center. “I knew that when the time came for me to do something, the best of all worlds was for me to give to the library. Libraries were important to my dad and I felt that my dad would have liked to have his name on one,” said the donor, whose father founded Value Line Inc., the world’s largest investment advisory service.

71. ALAN GERRY–$4 million to endow a professorship at the MASSACHUSETTS GENERAL HOSPITAL for the hip-reconstruction program. Two years ago Gerry sold his cable-TV company, the eighth-largest in the United States, to Time Warner for $2.8 billion. Recently he started a new career by purchasing the site of the Woodstock festival, where he plans to build a musical theme park to preserve the legend and boost the local economy.

71. SCOTT and JACQUELINE HUDGENS–At least $4 million to several Gwinnett County, Ga., charities: $1.5 million to the GWINNETT COUNCIL FOR THE ARTS for a children’s museum at the Gwinnett Civic Center; $1 million to a program of tuition assistance for GWINNETT HIGH SCHOOL graduates who do not qualify for the HOPE Scholarship at Gwinnett Tech; $500,000 to RAINBOW VILLAGE of Norcross for families in crisis; at least $1 million to help fund new facilities for the GWINNETT CHILDREN’S SHELTER; 1,945 acres of high ground and marsh in McIntosh County to POTOSI ISLAND for a wildlife preserve. Over the last 13 years, the Hudgenses’ philanthropy has benefited YMCAs, Annandale Village, Boy Scouts of America, United Way, High Museum of Art, Gwinnett Hospital, Spelman College, Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, and Shepherd Center. Until now, almost all the gifts were made anonymously. Hudgens, a real-estate developer, said he is proudest of the donation of 21 acres to Duluth for a park, plus of the relocation of the former Duluth railroad station to the site.

71. STEPHEN and TABITHA KING–$4 million over the next three years to their alma mater, the UNIVERSITY OF MAINE. In announcing their gift, the Kings challenged state policy-makers to increase funding for the school. “Anybody in government, state or otherwise, that suggests that there’s a dichotomy between balancing the budget here in the state of Maine and funding education is just flat wrong,” said Stephen King, who graduated with a bachelor’s degree in education in 1970. “Good education is good business, and there’s no argument about that.” Half the money from the Kings’ donation will be used to hire new faculty members in several academic areas; the other half will be awarded as merit-based student scholarships. Stephen King is donor and president and Tabitha King is vice president of the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation (N.Y.).

71. R. CHARLES LOUDERMILK SR.–$4 million to the UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA AT CHAPEL HILL for a new building for the Kenan-Flagler Business School from the founder, chairman, president, and CEO of Aaron Rents Inc. of Atlanta. The company is the largest furniture rental and sales company in the United States.

71. BILL and JANE PETERSON–A historic $4-million Lake Geneva estate to the STATE OF WISCONSIN, including 300 feet of undeveloped south-shore lakefront property and a Queen Anne-style summer residence filled with Victorian furnishings. The Peterson family will also donate to the estate’s maintenance and operation the tax benefits they receive from the charitable donation. The state legislature’s Joint Finance Committee took a step toward accepting the deal by approving a budget amendment that would provide $1.6 million to turn the home into a visitor center. However, completion of the deal has been complicated by disagreements between representatives of the state and the State Historical Society over the cost of running the facility.

71. JULIAN and JOSIE ROBERTSON–Total 1997 contributions:$4 million. Of this, $3 million went to HOLLINS COLLEGE (Va.), the largest gift in the school’s history, to help build a library to be named for Julian Robertson’s sister, Wyndham Robertson, a 1958 Hollins graduate. Wyndham Robertson was the first female assistant managing editor of Fortune magazine, the first female vice president of the University of North Carolina, and the first woman to sit on the board of directors of Media General Inc. She is now vice chair of Hollins’ governing board. $1 million to RHODES COLLEGE (Tenn.) for scholarships. Julian Robertson is the chairman of Tiger Management, a New York investment firm.

71. ROBERT J. and MARY WRIGHT–$4 million to AUSTIN COLLEGE (Texas) from these Dallas residents, the largest gift in this Presbyterian-affiliated school’s history.

79. ROBERT T. and DIANA BIGELOW$3.7 million to the UNIVERSITY OF NEVADA AT LAS VEGAS to establish the Bigelow Chair of Consciousness Studies from the president of Bigelow Holding, a real-estate company, and his wife. The new gift is a continuation of Bigelow family gifts in support of the sciences and health sciences colleges at UNLV. Bigelow’s interest and investment in scientific research at UNLV resulted in his selection by the board of regents as a Distinguished Nevadan in 1995.

80. JUDY and W. BRIAN LITTLE–$3.6million to COLGATE UNIVERSITY (N.Y.) in support of its plans to build a new academic building for the art and art-history department. Brian Little, a founding partner of Forstmann Little & Co. and now a private investor, is a 1964 Colgate graduate and has served as chairman of the board of trustees since 1996.