McDaniel College will use a nearly $6.7 million gift it received from the estate of an 1891 alumnus to establish an endowment for scholarships. It is the largest bequest for scholarships in the college's 146-year history.
Upon his 1945 death, Philip Henry Dorsey's will established a trust fund to provide scholarships for his descendants to attend Western Maryland College, now McDaniel, and five of his descendants earned degrees from the school from 1948 to 1962.
"He has no more direct descendants, so now McDaniel is getting the full trust," college spokeswoman Cheryl Knauer said.
The college has researched the trust and its ongoing provision to fund scholarships for Dorsey's descendants and worked with its trustees to manage the transfer of funds, according to a news release from McDaniel.
McDaniel has received a check for more than $975,000 as the first installment of the gift with much of the estate coming in the form of property, the release states.
"That the family descendant of an alumnus from over 120 years ago made a commitment to transfer Mr. Dorsey's legacy so that another century of students can attend this college is a remarkable testament about the life-changing power of a McDaniel education," McDaniel President Roger Casey said in the release.
College officials have not yet decided what the criteria will be for the scholarships, the actual number of scholars to be awarded or the dollar amount of each scholarship, Knauer said.
Dorsey, of St. Clements Bay in St. Mary's County, was one of 18 students to earn a bachelor's degree from Western Maryland College in 1891.
The total enrollment of the college was 154 at the time, and the faculty included the college's namesake William R. McDaniel, a professor of mathematics and astronomy, according to the release.
After graduation, Dorsey returned to St. Mary's County, where he helped to manage farmland and spent much of his life involved in the buying and selling of crops. He was never married.
"It's my honor to complete the wishes of 'Uncle Phil' and his descendants," Elizabeth "Betty" Grice Helms, of Richmond, Va., current trustee of the Dorsey Trust and Dorsey's great-great niece, said in the prepared release from the college.