George and Harriet Cornell

President Rita Bornstein poses with Harriet and George Cornell and their dog.Rollins Alumni, George ’35 '85H and Harriet ’35HAL ’90H Cornell, were great philanthropists, unprecedented benefactors, and long-time friends of the College, making several multi-million-dollar donations. In 1976, a gift of more than $1 million led to the construction of a new museum, now called the George D. and Harriet W. Cornell Fine Arts Center that opened in 1978. George’s 1999 gift of $10 million to establish a scholarship fund in honor of his late wife was the largest single gift Rollins had ever received. His second $10-million donation was given as the capstone to The Campaign For Rollins to endow Rollins’ presidency. In 2004, Rollins announced the receipt of the largest gift in the College’s history: a $93.3 million bequest left by George Cornell upon his death the year before. When the estate was closed in July 2008, Rollins received an additional $12 million, bringing the total bequeathed by the long-time friend and philanthropist to $105.5 million, ranking among the largest gifts in higher education (Chronicle of Higher Education). Almost half of the gift was undesignated, allowing it to be used for new initiatives, including the Winter Park Institute. Several buildings on campus bear the name of these loyal alumni, including the aforementioned CFAM, the Cornell Campus Center, and the Cornell Hall for the Social Sciences. The namesake is also carried on through endowed chair positions, such as the George D. and Harriet W. Cornell Chair of Distinguished Presidential Leadership, and the Cornell Scholars scholarship program for exceptional students entering Rollins College.

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