No visitor to Hood College can escape seeing the names of Beneficial and Hodson—they grace many buildings and places across campus, including the Beneficial-Hodson Library and Information Technology Center, Hodson Science Hall, Hodson Gallery in Tatem Arts Center, Hodson Swimming Pool, and Hodson Outdoor Theater.
What a visitor does not see is the Beneficial-Hodson Endowed Fund for Academic Excellence, which provides Beneficial-Hodson Scholarships for Hood’s outstanding undergraduates, and the Hodson Awards program, which makes it possible for undergraduate students from under-represented minorities to attend Hood.
“The Beneficial-Hodson Trust has steadily promoted academic excellence at Hood,” explains former President Shirley D. Peterson. “The Trust has made it possible for the College to attract distinguished undergraduates from around the country, to encourage the aspirations of under-represented minorities, and to support important academic work by members of the Hood faculty.”
The scholarships provide students—both traditional-aged and those over the age of 23—with tuition grants awarded in amounts ranging from $4,000 to $12,000 a year for full-time enrollment. Each year more than 30 new scholarships are awarded, so that during any given year more than 120 students on campus are benefiting from Beneficial-Hodson awards.
In addition, each year up to four members of the Hood faculty have been awarded Beneficial-Hodson Fellowships to carry out scholarly or creative projects. Since 1979, 51 fellowships have been awarded to members of the Hood faculty, granted in recognition of their teaching, research, and service contributions. One of these Beneficial-Hodson Fellows is the guest speaker at the annual Beneficial-Hodson Lecture, a program that enriches the intellectual atmosphere of the College and the local community.
“Wherever we turn, the Beneficial Corporation is one of Hood’s angels,” says Peterson, noting that Hood has received more than $18.5 million from the Hodson Trust since 1936, including over $3 million for the development of the Information Technology Computer Network, which links every building on campus via computer to the Beneficial-Hodson Library and Information Technology Center.
This campus-wide communications network provides access not only to the Hood library, but to an extended network of state, national and international library systems from computer terminals linked to the network. It is an integral part of the library services delivery system and is a data communications network providing such services as campus electronic mail and the World Wide Web.
“Beneficial has consistently supported and encouraged Hood’s information technology initiatives which are so vital in preparing our students for the 21st Century,” says President Peterson.
Other contributions include the Beneficial Chair in Economics, which was established in 1985. Three professors have been awarded this distinction: Edward Shafer (1985-1987), William R. Agee (1987-1993), and Joseph E. Dahms (1993 to the 2012).
The Hodson Trust was settled in 1920 by Thomas S. Hodson, a lawyer and Maryland state senator, whose son Col. Clarence Hodson, founded the Beneficial Loan Society in 1914, the predecessor of Beneficial Corporation and its subsidiaries. Today, Beneficial is a Delaware-based $15 billion New York Stock Exchange-listed diversified financial services holding company. Col. Hodson, a lawyer, bank president, and colonel in the Maryland Militia, inherited his interest in the advancement of education from his father and provided the assets for the Hodson Trust to honor his father. After Col. Hodson’s death in 1928, his interest in education was continued by members of the Hodson family.
The Hodson Trust supports three other Maryland institutions: St. John’s College, Washington College, and the Johns Hopkins University. Since the Hodson Trust was established, it has contributed more than $61.8 million to these three institutions along with Hood College.
Today, the company continues its support and advocacy of higher education.
For the last 60 years, the special connection with Beneficial has touched Hood students and faculty in direct and profound ways. Whether you’ve received a Beneficial-Hodson scholarship that helped you earn a college degree, or simply admired the beauty of a Beneficial-Hodson building on campus, you’ve experienced the generosity and support of two men who believed in the value of education, and of those who continue to uphold Colonel Hodson’s original intention.