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Georgetown College Secures Historic $28 Million in Donations to Retire Institutional Debt


Submitted on May 8, 2024

Georgetown College has secured donations that will entirely eliminate the College’s long-term debt.

Forty-six alumni, trustees, and friends have donated $28 million to strengthen Georgetown College’s financial base and pave the way for new academic programs by eliminating the financial drain of its accumulated debt.

The historic effort was led by $16 million from Mr. Robert N. Wilson, GC class of ’62, and his Pheasant Hill Foundation, making it the largest single gift in the College’s history. Mr. Wilson, former Vice-Chairman of Johnson and Johnson and a well-respected leader in pharmaceutical, biotech, and financial fields, is a long-standing supporter of his alma mater.

“This is a transformational moment for the College,” said President Rosemary Allen. “In an era when many small colleges are struggling to survive, the elimination of our long-term institutional debt provides us a stable foundation for future growth.”

The College understood the opportunities that existed to expand its mission and recruit more students. The region around Georgetown is growing, and there is a critical shortage of educated workers in the Commonwealth. The Trustees and President Allen knew if they retired the debt, the College could begin working with community partners, donors, and granting agencies that wanted to invest in workforce development, particularly in physical and mental health fields.

The campaign, titled Strength for Today, Bright Hope for Tomorrow, was led by Trustee Frank Penn ‘68, in close cooperation with President Allen and the advancement office.

“I have been told throughout this process that it wouldn’t work,” said Frank Penn. “I have also been told that what our Trustees, alumni, and friends have helped us achieve is a miracle, and it shows just how loved Georgetown is.”

Alumni support was key to the success of the project. In addition to Mr. Wilson’s generous $16 million gift, anonymous 1973 alums provided a $2 million gift. Million-dollar gifts came from Robert and Maggie ‘Mills ’67 and ’69, Frank and Rita Penn ’68 and ’72, and Randy Fox ’60, as well from Steve E. Clifton and Trustee Sharon Marshall Clifton, whose parents were GC alumni. President Allen and her husband, Dr. Todd Coke, also contributed $1 million toward the effort. 

Seventeen other alumni and friends of the College, including an anonymous faculty member, made six-figure gifts.

The College is planning a celebration of this historic effort during Homecoming 2024, when a plaque will be unveiled that commemorates the donors who came forward to give strength to Georgetown College at a critical time.

To watch the recorded announcement that President Rosemary Allen made on campus, click here.

 

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