Trustee’s record $10M gift juices Mount Holyoke scholarship campaign

  • Students walk to and from the Mount Holyoke College Blanchard Campus Center on Monday, Nov. 16, 2020. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Monday, January 25, 2021

SOUTH HADLEY — Scholarships and financial aid at Mount Holyoke College recently received an $11 million boost thanks to donations from alums — including a single, record donation of $10 million.

The $10 million gift by alumnus Liz Cochary Gross, ‘79, and her husband, Phillip Gross, is the largest donation toward financial aid in the institution’s history.

Liz Cochary Gross, who also sits on the college’s board of trustees, said in a statement that she hopes the donation will inspire others to invest in the college.

“We need to ensure students with diverse backgrounds and from a wide variety of economic circumstances have the opportunity to join the Mount Holyoke community and thrive as student scholars and change agents,” Gross said.

The gift has already had this effect on another alumna, Nancy Nordhoff, ‘54, who committed $1 million toward supporting future students from varying economic backgrounds after she heard about Gross’ donation.

The college has dubbed Gross’ call for donations the “Meet the Moment Scholarship Challenge.” As part of the challenge, the college will match $2 for every $1 for gifts ranging from $50,000 and $250,000. For those who are repeat endowed financial aid donors, the college will match gifts within this same range dollar for dollar.

Mount Holyoke has set a goal of receiving $20 million in new gifts and commitments over the next 18 months, and has already secured over $5 million toward this effort as of Thursday.

In a statement, college president Sonya Stephens called the donation an investment in “the future of Mount Holyoke College and the futures of the talented students who will benefit from the education and the financial support that these endowed scholarships make possible.”

“I am deeply grateful to Liz and Phill Gross for their generosity, and for inspiring others to join them in their commitment to the College, its students and the affordability of an outstanding liberal arts education,” Stephens said.