NORTHAMPTON — Smith College has received a $50 million endowment gift — the largest individual donation in the school’s 155-year history.
The college announced Tuesday that the gift — $40 million designated for student financial aid and $10 million to “re-envision” the school’s career development program — is from an alumna who wishes to remain anonymous. It was made through a private foundation.
“I could not be more grateful for this alumna’s generosity, vision and belief in the power of a Smith education,” Kathleen McCartney, Smith College president, said in a statement.
“Her investment in the college will allow us to make a giant stride in equalizing the Smith experience for students from low- and middle-income backgrounds.”
The announcement included a statement from the donor saying, “Smith had a meaningful impact on my life, both personally and professionally, and I feel an obligation to pay it back.”
One of Smith College’s goals, according to McCartney, is to admit qualified students without regard to family circumstances, referred to as “need-blind admissions.”
“It is my deepest wish,” McCartney said, “that this alumna’s generosity will inspire others to help the college reach this goal.”
Smith College, which enrolls more than 2,500 undergraduates from nearly every state and more than 70 other countries, said it awarded more than $80 million in federal, state and college aid to 69% percent of its students during the last academic year.
Established in 1871 and opening four years later, Smith College has educated notable authors, journalists, activists, politicians, philanthropists, actresses, filmmakers, academics, CEOs, two First Ladies and recipients of the Pulitzer Prize, Academy Award, Emmy Award, MacArthur Grant, Peabody Award, and Tony Award.