Amherst College Receives 2 Anonymous Gifts Worth a Total of $125-Million

November 03, 2009

Two alumni of Amherst College have pledged a total of $125-million to their alma mater, the largest gifts ever for the private liberal-arts college, Amherst officials announced on Tuesday. Both donors asked to remain anonymous.

The two pledges—one for $100-million and another for $25-million—are unrestricted, meaning Amherst can use the money however it wishes for operating costs. Anthony W. Marx, Amherst's president, said in a written statement that the money will go to the college's greatest needs, including enhancing financial aid and increasing access to the college, hiring more faculty members and increasing their support, and upgrading Amherst's infrastructure.

Both pledges will be paid over five years.

The $100-million donor said he made the gift "in recognition of the unique education I received at Amherst, and as an expression of support for Amherst College's mission," according to a statement released by the college. The $25-million donor said his gift was intended to provide access to the college for "students of extraordinary potential, regardless of their ability to pay."

On its Web site, Amherst College puts its cost of attendance between $53,000 and $55,000 a year for students who do not receive financial aid. The college has a generous financial-aid policy; in 2007 it announced it would replace loans with grants in students' financial-aid awards.

Amherst announced a $425-million fund-raising campaign last fall and says it has collected $350-million so far.