Five College Presidents Surprised with $100,000 Checks – Knight Foundation

Five College Presidents Surprised with $100,000 Checks

December 9, 1991 — Five college presidents received unexpected and unsolicited gifts in the mail this morning — no-strings-attached checks for $100,000.

The institutions were notified today that they are the recipients of Knight Foundation’s 1991 Presidential Leadership Grants, $100,000 cash awards recognizing quality presidential leadership at small private liberal arts colleges and universities serving special populations.

The checks were sent to the presidents of the following colleges to be spent for whatever they consider to be the wisest and best strategic use of funds for their institutions:

  • Benedict College, Columbia, S.C.
           President:  Marshall C. Grigsby.
  • College of St. Catherine, St. Paul, Minn.
           President:  Anita M. Pampusch.
  • Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, Miss.
           President:  Adib Akmal Shakir.
  • Warren Wilson College, Swannanoa, N.C.
           President:  Douglas M. Orr Jr.
  • Westmont College, Santa Barbara, Calif.
           President: David K. Winter.

“The colleges and presidents we recognize today not only have a history of accomplishment but have laid the groundwork for further advancement in fulfilling their distinctive missions,”  said Creed Black, president of Knight Foundation.  “These grants are intended to provide the presidents a resource for flexibility, creativity and leadership in guiding their institutions toward new levels of achievement.”

This is the second series of Presidential Leadership Grants.  The first round was announced in December 1990.  In making these awards, Knight Foundation targets institutions with strong potential and proven track records in addressing the educational needs of special populations.

Benedict and Tougaloo Colleges are historically black colleges; the College of St. Catherine is the second largest women’s college in the United States; Warren Wilson College’s student body is composed
largely of rural Appalachian first-generation students; and Westmont College is a recognized leader among Christian colleges.

The grants are initiated by the foundation.  Proposals are not invited.  The colleges are unaware that they are under consideration. Prospective recipients are evaluated by the foundation’s education advisory committee of former college and university presidents.  The foundation is assisted in the evaluation process by the Consortium for the Advancement of Private Higher Education.

The Presidential Leadership Grants are an outgrowth of the foundation’s Excellence in Undergraduate Education Program, which has awarded nearly $10 million since 1989 to 40 private liberal arts colleges to enhance academic life on their campuses.  The foundation’s interest in higher education is also indicated by the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, which has recommended and is pursuing a reform agenda.

Established in 1950 by John S. and James L. Knight, Knight Foundation is one of the nation’s largest private foundations.  It makes national grants in journalism, higher education and the field of arts and culture.  It also supports organizations in communities where the Knight brothers were involved in publishing newspapers but is wholly separate from and independent of those newspapers.