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Eckerd College Receives $25 Million Gift, Largest in Its History

posted on 05/20/2006

Eckerd College, the only national private liberal arts college in Florida, has received $25 million, the largest gift in its history, from Eckerd College chairman of the board of trustees Miles C. Collier, and his wife, Parker, of Naples, Fla.

"The Colliers' gift will help advance Eckerd College to the first rank of liberal arts colleges in the Southeast and beyond," said Donald R. Eastman III, president of Eckerd College. "Their gift will transform this institution while sustaining the core values that illustrate the Eckerd experience: residential, global, environmental, spiritual, and personal."

The Collier Challenge gift will be used to match, dollar-for-dollar, gifts of $25,000 or more to the College and will target priorities critical to realizing Eckerd's strategic plan priorities: the sciences, the arts, student life, and the College's endowment. The Colliers' match will be in the donor's name and dedicated to the programs the donor supports.

Announcing the gift to the College's trustees, many of whom are alumni, at their May meeting, Mr. Collier said he and his wife "offer this gift to advance Eckerd College, strengthening and deepening the character of this place, this place that transforms lives, that transformed your lives and, indeed even at our hardened and advanced age, touches and transforms the lives of we who do not call her alma mater."

Mr. Collier joined Eckerd College's Board of Trustees in 1988, served as chairman from 1992 to 1995, and has again been serving as chairman since July 2000. Mr. Collier is managing partner of Naples-based Collier Enterprises.

"The Collier Challenge gift will enable Eckerd to continue doing what it does best: uphold the three pillars upon which the American liberal arts college was founded: the primacy of the close relationship between student and teacher; the importance of the residential experience; and the commitment to an educational model, in college and beyond, that places great value on public service," said President Eastman.

Eckerd College is one of only 40 schools listed in Loren Pope's Colleges That Change Lives. In 2003, Eckerd became one of only 270 colleges to be awarded a Phi Beta Kappa chapter in the academic society's 226-year history; Eckerd was named one of 13 Institutions of Excellence in the First College Year by the Policy Center on the First Year of College; and Eckerd was ranked the #1 U.S. baccalaureate institution with the highest proportion of students who study abroad during their undergraduate careers in a NAFSA Association of International Educators study as reported in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Since its founding in 1958 as Florida Presbyterian College, Eckerd College has offered an educational experience known for its rigor, complexity, and innovation. Programs such as its Autumn Term for freshmen, 4-1-4 calendar that encourages and supports study abroad and faculty-mentored research during the Winter Term, and the Academy of Senior Professionals at Eckerd College (ASPEC) are nationally recognized. In addition, the College community is committed to the highest level of environmental responsibility and programming, and the College

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