$250M Donation To College Falls Through

September 9, 2013       Zach Halper      

A $250 million pledge to Centre College, a small liberal arts college in Danville, Ky., was withdrawn today after the two sides could not finalize the agreement.

It was announced on July 30 that the A. Eugene Brockman Charitable Trust would donate $250 million to Centre College, known for hosting the U.S. vice presidential debates in 2000 and 2012. The gift was intended to create a scholarship program for students majoring in natural sciences, economics and computational sciences. In a statement, school president John Roush expressed disappointment regarding the “unanticipated development.”

“The Trust was inspired to make this gift because of the transformational education students receive at Centre, and we anticipated hundreds of young men and women benefiting from this scholarship,” said Roush.

Roush explained that the donation was withdrawn because the school and the Brockman Trust could not come to an agreement as to how the gift would be structured nor could they get the required approval for the gift in the time available. No additional details were available.

The Brockman Trust could not be reached for comment.

Despite his disappointment in the way this particular donation ended, Roush said Centre College would continue to pursue donations for scholarship programs. “We will continue to pursue the goal of such a program designed to prepare students as leaders and entrepreneurs,” he said. “A task force of trustees, faculty, staff and students will be assembled to continue this conversation.”

A. Eugene Brockman formed his charitable trust in 1981, just a few years before he died. It is now managed in part by his son, Robert T. Brockman, who attended Centre College for two years and previously served as a chairman on the school’s board of trustees. Brockman is also president and CEO of The Reynolds and Reynolds Co., an auto dealer services firm that merged with Universal Computer Systems in 2006.

The $250 million would have been the largest gift in Centre College’s history but it would not have been the first donation from the Brockman Trust. The school previously received $15 million from the trust to build the Brockman Commons. Another gift from Robert Brockman helped construct Pearl Hall in 2008, which was named after his mother and grandmother.