The countdown began at The Dune, where more than 1,000 students, faculty and staff gathered with President Katherine Bergeron for the Big Announcement. When the time ticked down on that April afternoon, the crowd celebrated as Bergeron announced the largest philanthropic gift in the College’s history: a gift of $30 million from Rob ’88 and Karen Hale P’20 that, in combination with their prior gift of $20 million, invests $50 million in financial aid, athletics, career and an expansive 21st-century liberal arts education.
“As our country emerges from the trials of this pandemic, Karen and Rob have exercised another multimillion dollar vote of confidence for the future of the liberal arts, sending a message about the transformative power of a Connecticut College education,” said Bergeron. “Their gifts are super-charging the momentum of a College whose spirit of creativity, resiliency and determination to lead have been on vivid display across this challenging year. We are incredibly moved and inspired by their commitment.”
Then-Board of Trustees Chair DeFred (Fritz) G. Folts III ’82 and former Chair Pamela D. Zilly ’75, who is co-chairing the College’s campaign along with Rob Hale and Bradford T. Brown P’12 ’15 ’20, joined Bergeron on Tempel Green to mark the historic occasion. The celebration featured music from Conn’s very own Prose & Conns and the Carly Family Band, and was catered by students’ favorite food trucks: La Mesa, Munchies, Luigi’s Wood Fired Pizza Risto, and Ben & Jerry’s. Hundreds of students, faculty, staff and alumni also sent messages of gratitude to the Hales over social media.
In a special video, the Hales shared why they are so invested in the College. Rob said, “This College changed my life, and Karen and I believe deeply in its mission, in its innovations as a liberal arts educator and the leadership skills it builds in students. More than ever, our society needs the kinds of graduates that this College helps develop, and we are honored to help do our part to stand with them. We hope others will join us.”
The Hales’ gift prioritizes three areas of importance made vividly clear by the pandemic: $10 million for financial aid, $10 million for athletics and $10 million for immediate improvements to campus infrastructure.
“When we think of this College, we think of all the outstanding students we have gotten to know, the friendships of our own that have lasted across our lives and the powerful influence these graduates have on those around them,” said Robert Hale. “We’re excited for today’s students and what they are going to make possible for themselves and others.”
For video highlights and photos of the celebration, or to share your own messages of gratitude, go to: www.conncoll.edu/april28