February 2, 2016

Dear Members of the Connecticut College Community,

I am very pleased to write with news about some recent generous gifts to the College.

First, I am delighted to let you know that trustee emerita and long-time benefactor Linda Lear ’62 has donated $1.8 million to fund a new position, the Linda Lear Special Collections Librarian at Connecticut College. This wonderful gift will allow the College to expand the range of professional services offered to faculty, staff, students, and visitors using our archival materials while also expanding the oversight of the collections themselves. Linda is a historian and a biographer of Rachel Carson and Beatrix Potter who knows well the importance of special collections to scholarly inquiry. In 2008, she established the Linda Lear Center for Special Collections and Archives at Connecticut College and, in 2015, funded the Lear Study in the newly renovated Charles E. Shain Library. A lifelong environmental advocate, she also created the Linda Lear Fund to support both the Goodwin-Niering Center and the biennial Lear-Conant Interdisciplinary Conference on the Environment. In recognition of her extraordinary accomplishments as both scholar and alumna, she was awarded the Connecticut College medal in 2013, the highest honor given by the College. We continue to be enormously indebted to her vision and her defense of the highest standards of scholarship at her alma mater.

In a similar vein, the Conservation and Research Foundation recently made a generous donation to advance the College’s position as a leader in environmental scholarship. The Foundation’s gift of $1.025 million will establish the Richard H. Goodwin Environmental Fund within the Connecticut College endowment to provide annual support for student and faculty research in botany and environmental studies. Appropriately, it honors the legacy of Richard Hale Goodwin, professor emeritus of botany and founding member of the Nature Conservancy, who was responsible both for the growth of our Arboretum and for the flourishing of our program in environmental studies during his 30-year tenure at Connecticut College.

Renewed support from alumni, parents, trustees, and friends of the College has had a very notable effect this year on the Connecticut College Fund (formerly the Annual Fund). At the end of December, gifts to the fund had reached nearly $4 million—12 percent beyond the total at the same time last year. This is excellent news, coming as it does on the heels of a record-setting $5.6 million in 2015. We are grateful to Ann Goodwin, vice president for College Advancement, and her team, who remain optimistic that the Fund will do even better in 2016 to reach its $5.7 million goal.

Finally, I wanted to mention that two weeks ago, at AOL headquarters in New York, I attended the launch of the Camel Athletics Club. This is a new fundraising initiative, spearheaded by AOL CEO Tim Armstrong '93 and his colleague Luke Beatty '93, dedicated to advancing varsity athletics at Connecticut College. The energy and enthusiasm of our young alumni, coaches, and varsity athletes on that night was infectious, and indicative of the importance of varsity sports in the College experience. I anticipate that membership in the Club will expand rapidly and will stimulate overall growth in alumni support for the College’s ongoing priorities.

I look forward to keeping you informed of further achievements. Until then, I send you my best wishes for another productive year.

Katherine Bergeron