April 17, 2024

Goucher College announces $55 million bequest: largest gift in college’s history

Legacy gift from Anica Donnan Rawnsley ’51 to support scholarships for future generations of Goucher students

Anica Donnan Rawnsley ’51Goucher College will receive a gift of approximately $55 million—the largest bequest in the institution’s 140-year history. The gift, a bequest from Goucher alumna Anica Donnan Rawnsley ’51, will sustain scholarships in future years and ensure continued opportunities and support for Goucher students.

“Equity, inclusivity, and academic excellence have been at the heart of Goucher’s mission since our founding in 1885. This transformational gift will ensure that Goucher can fulfill that mission for decades to come,” said Goucher College President Kent Devereaux. “Ninety-nine percent of current Goucher students receive either financial aid or scholarships of some type. Our graduates go on to serve their communities, perform groundbreaking scientific research, and become civic leaders, entrepreneurs, or creative professionals where they make their mark in the world. Future generations of Goucher students will be able to do that, in part, thanks to the tremendous generosity of Mrs. Rawnsley.”  

Anica Donnan Rawnsley had strong ties to Goucher after graduating as a member of the Class of 1951. She served two eight-year terms as a Goucher College Board of Trustees member and was named a trustee emerita in 1997. Rawnsley spent much of her life devoted to education and community service, working as an elementary school teacher early in her career and volunteering for numerous nonprofits throughout her life. In 1975, she was asked to be the first female trustee of Washington and Jefferson College, where she was awarded an honorary degree in 2003. 

Fifty million dollars of the approximately $55 million bequest will be invested into Goucher’s endowment with the remainder helping to underwrite ongoing initiatives. Goucher’s current endowment stands at approximately $235 million and is ranked in the top 16% of all private colleges and universities nationwide. This new bequest will help to strengthen that endowment even further.

“We are honored by Mrs. Rawnsley’s incredible planned gift which will create a remarkable legacy here at Goucher,” said Michele Ewing, vice president for advancement at Goucher College. “We hope that Mrs. Rawnsley’s generosity and foresight will inspire other alumnae/i and friends to consider including Goucher in their estate planning to support our institution’s mission and our students’ success for generations to come.”

The Rawnsley gift builds on last year’s announcement of the then-largest gift in Goucher’s history. Judy C. Lewent ’70 and her husband, Mark Shapiro, pledged a $10 million lead gift to support the construction of Goucher’s new Science Innovation Center. That commitment remains the most significant pledge ever made by a living alumna to the college.

Named one of the best national liberal arts colleges, most innovative colleges, and best colleges for study abroad by U.S. News & World Report, Goucher College provides the academic and career experience that helps students become who they are meant to be. Located in Baltimore, Maryland, Goucher believes in the power of global education and makes it possible for 100% of its students to study abroad as part of their undergraduate education. With a range of in-demand programs and small class sizes, the core curriculum equips students to collaboratively address complex problems, successfully navigate a global economy, and tackle humanity’s most pressing issues.