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Support for George’s Brigade program now tops $2.5 million

December 17, 2015
Washington College President Sheila C. Bair today announced a gift of $1.6 million from alumnus H. Lawrence Culp, Jr., Chair of the Board of Visitors and Governors and former CEO of Danaher Corporation, to endow scholarships for students enrolled in George’s Brigade, the College’s innovative new program to attract and support high-ability, high-need students. This scholarship gift will specifically support students graduating from Washington, DC area high schools.

Board chair H. Lawrence CulpBoard chair H. Lawrence CulpGeorge’s Brigade seeks to work with high-performing students whose families would otherwise not have the resources to pay for a private liberal arts education. Brigade members will have their full need met, including room and board. If students wish to borrow for incidental expenses, the program requires that they limit their loans to $2500 per year. This will allow them the opportunity to receive an excellent education and strong start to their careers without large amounts of student debt.

In addition to meeting full financial need, George’s Brigade will allow students to apply to Washington College and be admitted in groups from the same community or school so that they have companions to share their transition to college life. The initiative will also include special programming, events, mentoring, and career counseling for the enrolled students.

President Bair, who took over leadership of the College in August, has made higher education affordability and access major leadership priorities. She applauded the generosity of the gift, which will enable recipients to receive a liberal arts education from Washington College and graduate virtually debt free while taking advantage of the College’s internship and leadership development opportunities.

“These young scholars are hungry for learning, opportunity, and success,” Bair says. “Preparing students for the pursuit of a life filled with both purpose and passion is the core of our mission at Washington College, and this gift to George’s Brigade will help make this path a reality for some of the most deserving students.”

Financial aid is important for almost all Washington College students and their families, Bair says, but it is especially vital for first-generation college students, whose families often require the most assistance in paying for their education. Every year, Washington College provides more than $23 million in grants and scholarships, with 90% of students receiving merit-based scholarships or need-based financial aid.

“Lower-income, first generation students attending college face two major challenges: the lack of financial resources, which too often leads to excessive debt loads, and lack of adequate social and academic support. With George’s Brigade, we have established a program to address these challenges and help ensure these talented students’ success,” says Bair. “Larry’s generosity will help fulfill a large part of the promise by making substantial financial resources available for George’s Brigadiers.”

Culp, a 1985 graduate of Washington College, says the school is committed to college access and affordability for students. To meet this goal, it is partnering with local community benefit organizations to help identify and recruit students who can benefit from a small liberal arts school and succeed with their education and future careers. 

“I can say with absolute certainty that I would not be where I am today without my Washington College education,” Culp says. “I wanted to extend that opportunity to other students who would otherwise lack the resources to attend. I hope this gift inspires others to join me in supporting George’s Brigade.”

Culp recently stepped down as Danaher Corporation’s CEO and President to become a Senior Advisor to that company following a nearly 14-year run. During Culp’s tenure, the company expanded internationally, grew revenues and market capitalization five-fold, and generated shareholder returns five times that of the S&P 500 Index. Harvard Business Review recently named him one of the Top 50 CEOs in the world. Culp also serves on the faculty of the Harvard Business School as Senior Lecturer, and on the boards of T. Rowe Price Group, based in Baltimore.

Bair says the College will continue to raise additional funds to support George’s Brigade, citing a $750k gift from The Hodson Trust this year to support the initiative. The program has attracted a number of corporate supporters as well, and to date fundraising efforts total more than $2.5 million for the program’s endowment.

About Washington College

Founded in 1782, Washington College is the tenth oldest college in the nation. It enrolls approximately 1,450 undergraduates from more than 35 states and 40 nations. The College is located in the Colonial riverfront town of Chestertown, named by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of America’s most distinctive historic communities, and is located approximately 90 minutes from Washington, D.C., Baltimore and Philadelphia. Learn more at www.washcoll.edu.

Last modified on Apr. 18th, 2016 at 11:46am by Wendy Clarke.