Bates' largest gift ever comes from former college president

Bates has received its largest gift ever from a bequest by the late Charles F. and Evelyn M. Phillips. Phillips was the fourth president of Bates having served from 1944-66.

The gift of nearly $9 million is the largest in the College’s history and is believed to be the largest gift ever from a U.S. college president and spouse to an institution. The couple, who lived nearby in Auburn, died last year about six months apart. The gift comes in the form of an unrestricted bequest to the College’s endowment.

The Phillips’ gift is broken into four areas. They are:

  • Phillips Faculty Awards to provide opportunities for faculty members to pursue scholarship and research;
  • Phillips Professorships will recognize teaching and scholarly excellence by distinguished appointments from the Bates faculty;
  • The Phillips Student Internships will provide opportunities for students to link research, service or career exploration with international experiences;
  • The Phillips Leadership Fund to provide programs for the College and its departments to further levels of excellence.

These landmark endowments, known as the Charles F. and Evelyn M. Phillips Endowments, connect the former president’s work at Bates with the current planning for the College’s future. Early in their careers at Bates, Dr. and Mrs. Phillips expressed a vision for the College known as the Bates Plan, propelling the institution forward with energy and purpose following World War II.

“More than 50 years ago, a critical time in U.S. higher education, the Bates Plan reinforced the value of the liberal arts for living in a modern world and signaled Bates’ emergence as one of the finest colleges in the country,” said President Donald W. Harward in announcing the gift.

“In their gift, Charles and Evelyn Phillips have given us a remarkable opportunity to carry on that work,” Harward said. “Indeed their love of Bates inspires us as we chart the College’s future and reinforce its persisting qualities.”

Bates is a 143-year-old residential, undergraduate college of the liberal arts and sciences, and is recognized among the nation’s top 20 liberal arts colleges. The college is noted for its academic excellence and its egalitarian traditions and culture. Bates offers majors in 23 academic departments and six interdisciplinary programs, and encourages independent study, research with faculty members and participation in off-campus study programs.

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