Davidson Honors College Included in Estate Plan with $2 Million Gift

An anonymous couple has included a $2 million gift to the UM’s Davidson Honors College in their estate plan. This is the largest estate commitment in the college’s history. When realized, the gift will fund a need-based, full-ride scholarship, and will also offer unrestricted support that may be directed by the dean toward the areas of greatest need at the college.

“With this amazing gift, the Davidson Honors College can provide even more opportunities for student research, fieldwork, internships and education abroad – the kinds of hands-on learning that are a hallmark of honors education at UM,” said Brock Tessman, dean of the college. “Importantly, this gift also helps us take a giant leap forward in our efforts to become a regional leader in scholarship programs that consider both merit and financial need.”

Established as an honors program in 1981, the college now serves some 650 students, providing a small, tailored learning environment for high-potential students. Unrestricted donations allow the college to be nimble and flexible, meeting needs as they arise. For example, funds may be directed by the dean to support recruiting efforts, faculty and curriculum support, and travel awards for students studying abroad or attending conferences.

In addition, the scholarship funded by the anonymous donors will help students, in perpetuity, afford a UM education. Time and again students tell us about the difference a scholarship makes – not only the impact of the financial support, which is truly life changing, but also the pride and accomplishment they feel knowing they have been selected for an award.

This school year was especially bright for fundraising at the honors college. The anonymous estate commitment came on the heels of a $1.5 million gift from UM alumni Ian and Nancy Davidson, announced last fall, which has helped to create the Teaching, Research and Mentoring Fellows Program as well as a dedicated honors career development program.

A view of the Davidson Honors College Building