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    Friday, June 21, 2024

    Former student donates $20 million to Connecticut College

    New London — Connecticut College on Tuesday accepted a $20 million gift from a former student and his wife, the largest donation in the college’s history.

    The donation comes from Robert Hale and his wife, Karen, who earmarked the money for financial aid, career development and athletics.

    Hale is a 1988 graduate of the school where he majored in history and was a varsity lacrosse player. He is the president and chief executive officer of Quincy, Mass-based Granite Telecommunications.

    Connecticut College President Katherine Bergeron made the announcement during a celebration and ceremonial check unveiling attended by hundreds of cheering students outside of the Charles E. Shain Library.

    “This is a transformative gift that is going to touch the lives of every student on this campus in one way or another for many years to come,” Bergeron said.

    Bergeron said the donation will provide $10 million in scholarships to help attract “an even broader range of talented students,” $5 million in support of a nationally recognized career program and another $5 million for improvements to the college’s athletics facilities.

    The college, with about 1,900 students from 44 states and 70 different countries, plans to establish the Hale Scholars Program and has already created a new endowed position: the Hale Family Director of Career and Professional Development.

    Kenneth Koopmans was announced as the first person to hold the position.

    The Hales talked about their donation in a video played for the students.

    Bergeron called them a “wonderfully warm, intelligent and also humble people who have given generously to the college in the past and whose philanthropy is well known in the greater Boston area.”

    Robert Hale currently serves on the board of Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, Deerfield Academy and the Massachusetts Soldiers Legacy Fund, an organization that raises funds for the college education of children of fallen service members.

    Karen Hale is also a passionate advocate for education, serving as a trustee of South Shore YMCA and as a former trustee of Old Colony Montessori, according to a statement from the school.

    “Karen and I feel we are very fortunate to be able to support Connecticut College,” Hale said in the video. “We feel like the school helped us and in return we’d like to help the school. There is a brilliant liberal arts education to be had and that creates vibrant, thoughtful adults. We simply wanted to do our part to help the school build on its excellent foundation, and we hope others will join us as we take the college to the next level of greatness.”

    Bergeron said the gift comes at a turning point for the college, having recently completed a major renovation of the library and poised to launch a strategic planning process.



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