By Ronnie Ellis
CNHI News Service
Centre College, the small, liberal arts school in Danville that hosted vice presidential debates in 2004 and 2012, on Tuesday announced one of the largest-ever gifts to an institution of its type.
The private college with an enrollment of about 1,370 will receive a $250 million all-stock donation from the A. Eugene Brockman Trust.
Brockman’s son, Robert T. “Bob” Brockman, attended Centre before transferring to the University of Florida and later served as the chairman of Centre’s board of trustees.
Bob Brockman is CEO of Reynolds and Reynolds, which merged with Universal Computer Systems in 1981.
The gift is in the form of stock in Universal Computer Systems Holding Inc. and will fund 40 full scholarships, covering tuition, room and board, fees and additional expenses such as overseas studies in science, economics and computer science. The value of each scholarship is about $45,000 a year.
The Brockman gift represents half of the goal of Centre’s $500 million “Third Century Campaign” which is scheduled to conclude by Centre’s bicentennial celebration in January 2019.
Centre President John A. Roush said the Brockman gift is expected to serve 160 students by the 2017 academic year. The first 40 merit-based scholarships will be available beginning in the fall of 2014.
“This magnificent gift establishing the Brockman Scholars Program marks a fundamental transformation in Centre College’s ability to support students whose hard work, character and intellect have demonstrated their potential for leadership,” Roush said.
Evatt Tamine, a trustee of the Brockman Trust, said the trust chose to make the gift to Centre for several reasons.
“First, Mr. Brockman saw first-hand the tremendous impact that Centre had on his son, Bob, whose own drive and ambition were empowered by his experience as a Centre student,” Tamine said.
“Also, the trust believes that preparation for leadership and service in a rapidly changing world best takes place with the firm intellectual, moral and social grounding that young people receive especially well at Centre.”
The elder Brockman, now deceased, formed the trust in 1981. The trust previously donated $19.5 million to Centre to construct a new dormitory that opened last year.
Centre College is located in the small central Kentucky town of Danville, population 18,000. Founded in 1819, it is consistently ranked among the 50 best small liberal arts colleges in the country. Its faculty is ranked fifth in the nation for “Best Undergraduate Teaching” by U.S. News and World Report.
Centre boasts several distinguished graduates including U.S. vice presidents and Supreme Court justices and Rhodes and Fulbright scholars.
Ronnie Ellis writes for CNHI News Service and is based in Frankfort. Reach him at email@example.com. Follow CNHI News Service stories on Twitter at www.twitter.com/cnhifrankfort.