From its earliest days, the Middlebury experience has been funded, in part, by people who believe in the value of a liberal arts education
Over the past two centuries, generous donors have provided gifts to create individual endowed funds. The Barton Hepburn Women’s Professorship, for example, was established in 1908 by A. Barton Hepburn, class of 1871, with a gift of $60,231.16 The fund helped Middlebury to diversify its faculty by supporting scholars who were women—a rarity in academia in the early 20th century. Today the fund is valued at $1,375,056.75, and the professorship supports Marcia Collaer, Barton Hepburn Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience.
Donor support continues to be critical in fulfilling Middlebury’s commitment to academic excellence. In fiscal year 2021, gifts to the endowment from alumni, parents, and friends totaled $9.3 million. Over time, the endowment has benefited from the continued support of generous donors and the power of investment compounding of those endowment gifts. Without these gifts, the endowment’s value and impact would be significantly lower.
To ensure that the institution continues to thrive two centuries from our own time and beyond, Middlebury must balance the interests and needs of current and future generations of Middlebury students. Maintaining the inflation-adjusted value of the endowment underpins this concept of intergenerational equity.
Endowment in Action
Since its creation by members of the Class of 1962 at their 25th Reunion, the Ronald H. Brown ’62 Summer Internship Program Fund has enabled more than 680 students to gain the skills and experience to chart their life’s course.
Some can draw a direct line from that internship to their current careers. Others discovered that the career they’d thought they wanted was not the right fit. In each case, the opportunity to pursue an internship was pivotal in determining next steps and achieving a meaningful career.
Since 1987, the critical need for students to pursue an internship as part of their college education has increased exponentially, and the fund and its impact have grown to meet that need. Over the past 35 years, the fund has received over 200 individual gifts, totaling $477,212, and has grown in value to over $2 million. In 1987, the Ron Brown Fund supported 5 student interns. In the summer of 2021, 37 students received an internship stipend from the Ron Brown Fund. That kind of intergenerational impact is possible because the internships are paid for by a permanent, endowed fund established to support students in perpetuity. The original gift has been conserved, and a portion of the returns is spent and a portion is reinvested each year.
“In 1993, I helped to create GIS maps of timber harvesting practices in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. There was no road map for doing this kind of thing at the time, so we had to figure it out as we went. I got used to the idea that work in general must be that way: understand the objective and then just figure out a way to get there. That experience was formative to be sure. I can draw a clear arc from that summer to each of the career steps I took from there through many facets of the business and environment landscape. All of my work has focused on the interplay between people and planet.”
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