Davidson College President Carol Quillen today announced a gift of $25 million from Edward L. "Ted" Baker, Class of 1957, a former Davidson trustee and chairman emeritus of Patriot Transportation Holdings, Inc.
The gift-the second largest in the college's history-will support The Davidson Trust, Davidson College's commitment to meeting 100 percent of admitted students' need with grants and student employment, but without loans.
President Quillen announced the gift at Davidson's graduation ceremony. "We are grateful beyond measure or words to Ted for his generosity and for the confidence that his investment demonstrates in us," Quillen said in making the announcement. "Such ongoing, generous support from alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and current students makes it possible for Davidson to sustain a dual commitment to excellence and access at this crucial time in our nation's history. The Davidson Trust is an invitation and a promise that we extend to all talented and eager students. To these students, The Davidson Trust says: We want you here; you can afford it; and if you enroll at Davidson, we-the faculty, staff, alumni, and leadership-will do everything we can to ensure that you thrive, while you are here and after you graduate. Today, on behalf of the college, I express our profound gratitude to Ted Baker, and to this Class of 2012, and to all who seek to make equal opportunity real."
Baker's $25-million gift will provide additional support for the Baker-Vagt Scholarship, which Baker established with his wife, Ann, and Davidson's 16th president, Robert F. "Bobby" Vagt '69, and his wife, Ruth Anne, to provide assistance to students for whom a Davidson education would not otherwise be financially feasible.
"Davidson has always been important to our family," Ted Baker said, "and I'm pleased to offer this additional scholarship support as an investment in the future."
Ted Baker came to Davidson after graduating from the Woodberry Forest School in Madison County, Va. A Spanish major at Davidson, he joined Sigma Alpha Epsilon, was active in the YMCA, ran track and cross country, and was a member of the national Spanish honorary fraternity, Sigma Delta Pi.
After serving as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps, Ted joined the family business and rose to the position of chairman of Florida Rock Industries, which in 2007 was sold to Vulcan Materials Co.
Baker is one of Davidson's most active and well known alumni. A member of the Board of Trustees from 1989 to 2005, he also served for 12 years on the Board of Visitors and on the Presidential Search Committee that brought President Bobby Vagt to Davidson in 1997. Baker chaired the Trustee Campaign Cabinet that led the Let Learning Be Cherished campaign to raise a record $272 million to strengthen the college. He was a charter member of the Ne Ultra Society, Davidson's leadership giving society, when it was established in 1972, and he helped lead the fundraising efforts for the Baker Sports Complex. He meets regularly and provides support and mentorship to the select group of students who hold the prestigious scholarship named for his parents, Thompson S. and Cynthia L'Engle Baker.
Baker received an honorary degree from Davidson in 2007.
Ted Baker is also a leader in his community of Jacksonville, Fla. He has served as a member of the board of the Jacksonville Port Authority, the Gator Bowl Association, St. Vincent's Medical Center, the Jacksonville Zoological Society, the former Barnett Bank, and the Florida Chamber of Commerce, among others. In addition, Ted has served as past state director of the Orange Bowl Committee and he has been honored as the Florida Trucking Association's Man of the Year. A graduate of Woodberry Forest in Madison County, Va., he has served on that school's Advisory Council and as a member of the Board of Trustees.
In 2007, Davidson became the first liberal arts college in the U.S. to eliminate loans from all financial aid packages. Through The Davidson Trust, the college pledges to meet 100 percent of a student's demonstrated need with grants and employment--and without loans. The Davidson Trust has been very successful, opening Davidson's doors to students who might not have otherwise considered applying. In Fall 2011, 47 percent of Davidson's students received support through The Davidson Trust.
I wish to share with you, the graduates of the Class of 2012, some important news.
You are distinguished by extraordinary accomplishments and high aspiration, and it has been our privilege to have you here. Your class is also the first to fully embrace The Davidson Trust. By that I mean two things: first, this class is the first to fully benefit from the college's commitment, announced in 2007, to make equal opportunity real by meeting the demonstrated financial need of all admitted students without loans in financial aid packages. But you all did not just benefit from the trust. You embraced this project as your own. Through your leadership, we have a new tradition, Dinner at Davidson, through which current students raise money for need-based scholarships.
Therefore, I want you to be among the first to know that this week, Davidson has received from Ted Baker, Class of 1957, a gift of $25 million to support The Davidson Trust and, in particular, the Baker-Vagt Scholarship. These scholarships make a Davidson education possible for students for whom it would not otherwise be financially feasible.
We are grateful beyond measure or words to Ted for his generosity and for the confidence that his investment demonstrates in us. Such ongoing, generous support from alumni, parents, faculty, staff, and current students makes it possible for Davidson to sustain a dual commitment to excellence and access at this crucial time in our nation's history.
The Davidson Trust is an invitation and a promise that we extend to all talented and eager students. To these students, The Davidson Trust says: We want you here; you can afford it; and if you enroll at Davidson, we--the faculty, staff, alumni, and leadership--will do everything we can to ensure that you thrive, while you are here and after you graduate.
Today, on behalf of the college, I express our profound gratitude to Ted Baker, and to this Class of 2012, and to all who seek to make equal opportunity real. Thank you.