The Hodson Trust Grants $3.6 Million to Washington College


The Hodson Trust has made a gift of $3,667,204 to endow student scholarships awarded by the College and student internships offered by the Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience.


The Hodson Trust, whose generosity has benefitted Washington College students over 84 years, this year has made a gift of $3,667,204 to endow student scholarships awarded by the College and student internships offered by the Starr Center for the Study of the American Experience. Representatives of the Trust presented the gift in a letter to Interim President Wayne B. Powell on Dec. 14.

“We are exceedingly grateful to The Hodson Trust for the unwavering support of Washington College,” said Powell. “In the midst of this challenging year, this gift and the continued belief in our College and the liberal arts experience are more meaningful than ever before. We thank the trustees for their faith and their generosity.”

This year’s donation provides $3,167,204 to The Hodson Trust Merit Scholarship endowment and $500,000 to partially endow the Starr Center’s Explore America Summer Internship program. The Explore America program matches dozens of students with full-time, fully paid summer internships reserved for Washington College undergraduates at an array of leading cultural institutions and nonprofits. Those locations include five different Smithsonian museums, the National Archives, the National Constitution Center, the Library of Congress, the Apollo Theater, the National Park Service, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the LGBTQ National History Archives, the U.S. House of Representatives, and many others. In addition to providing paid jobs and valuable experience, Explore America introduces Washington College students to mentors who sometimes change the course of their lives. Quite a few recipients have been hired upon graduation at the places where they interned.

“This program makes Washington College unique, since I don’t know of any other small liberal arts college that offers anything similar,” said Adam Goodheart, the Starr Center’s Hodson Trust-Griswold Director. “Over the past decade, Explore America has flourished to the point that last summer, we were able to award almost 30 internships, at 23 partner institutions, to students from a wide range of majors. We’re grateful for The Hodson Trust’s generosity, which will fund at least five internships when fully vested and builds a foundation for the program to thrive and grow.”

The Hodson Trust is the College’s largest single benefactor. Starting with a grant of $18,191.12 in 1935, the Trust has given Washington College more than $80 million. The Trust that was established in 1920 by the family of Col. Clarence Hodson benefits four Maryland educational institutions:  Washington College, Hood College, St. John’s College of Annapolis, and The Johns Hopkins University. Hodson, who received the honorary degree Doctor of Laws from Washington College in 1922, served on the College’s Board of Visitors and Governors from 1920 until his death in 1928. 

Hodson, who grew up in Somerset County, Maryland, founded the Beneficial Loan Society to make small loans available to working-class Americans at affordable interest rates. This groundbreaking business grew into the Beneficial Corporation, one of the largest consumer finance companies in the United States. An initial investment of $100 grew over the ensuing decades into a trust that has awarded more than $250 million to the four beneficiary institutions. For more information, visit