Adrian College Receives $20 Million Dollar Gift

ADRIAN, Mich – Adrian College recently received the single largest gift in its history with a $20 million bequest from the estate of Willard M. Cornelius Sr.

“The benefits of this tremendous gift are difficult to quantify,” Adrian College President Jeffrey Docking said. “It will enhance educational opportunities for our current students while giving future generations the opportunity to afford a private college experience.”

In recent years, the College has received numerous gifts in support of its strong academic mission and commitment to education. This gift will be utilized to financially assist students with tuition support, continuing Adrian College’s commitment to provide an affordable and exceptional option for students. Adrian was selected by U.S. News and World Report as one of the Top Five Colleges in the Midwest with the Least Student Debt load on its graduates for two consecutive years. The funds will also support significant facility renovation to the College’s Science and Business buildings.

“Nearly one-third of our students express a desire to prepare for careers in health sciences,” Docking added. “This gift will give us state-of-the-art facilities to aid students in their preparation to enter medical and business fields.”

The Cornelius family shared a long and treasured history with Adrian College; Mr. Willard M. Cornelius Sr. was a longtime member of the Adrian College Board of Trustees (1931-1948). He was an innovator in the invention of early applications and techniques still commonly used in rust proofing for the automotive industry.

The funds will be administered through the form of a trust and the College will utilize the income earned to support its initiatives. The initial intent was to benefit Cornelius Jr.’s daughter, Ingrid Cornelius Roberts, eventually naming Adrian College as the residual beneficiary. Mrs. Roberts passed away earlier this fall.

“Adrian College continues to be a focal point for innovation in higher education in recent years,” said Kathryn Mohr, Chairman of the Adrian College Board of Trustees. “Our continued growth is a function of creative thinking, strong academics, and the continued support of our extraordinary donors and friends.”

Adrian College was founded in 1859 and has been notably in the news in recent years for its continued growth and innovative approach to education. Several million-dollar gifts have elevated the College to double enrollment over the past five years and have significantly expanded the budget to allow for over $40 million dollars invested in new facilities and programs. With the recent announcement of several new undergraduate and graduate options, the College continues to propel itself to considerable growth and advancement. Named in U.S. News & World Review as an Up & Coming Baccalaureate College, and the Best in the Midwest, Adrian College has continued to be a leader in the liberal arts college experience.