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Anonymous donor pledges $4M to USC

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Staff Report
Published Nov. 25, 2015

A recently deceased alumnus of the University of South Carolina has anonymously donated nearly $4 million dollars to the school.

The donation will go toward funding scholarships at the South Carolina Honors College and School of Music. It will also allow for the hiring of a full-time steward at the Belser Arboretum, as well as rare book acquisition and preservation at the University Libraries.

“This donor was a true renaissance person,” said Eleanor Foster Swarat, associate vice president for development. “The donor had been very successful on a professional level and continued his involvement with many areas of the university. This quiet philanthropist preferred not to be in the limelight, but wanted to assist others in making their mark on Carolina’s future.”

The School of Music scholarship program for graduate assistantships and fellowships is one of the largest donations of its kind that USC has received, it said.

The School of Music is deeply indebted for this remarkable gift, one of the largest in its history, made by certainly one of the school’s most generous and passionate donors and friends,” said Tayloe Harding, dean of the School of Music. “It will provide important support for music student financial aid at Carolina, primarily graduate assistantships and fellowships — one of our biggest areas of need.”

The arboretum, established in 1958, is a sanctuary for teaching ecology and conservation practices to undergraduates. It hosts lectures and trail walks and allows for first-hand observations.

The Carolina Scholar scholarships program, for students in the South Carolina Honors College, are among the most prestigious in-state undergraduate awards offered at the university and help attract and retain the state’s best young scholars.

“The Carolina Scholars program allows the university to compete, often successfully, for the state’s most academically-gifted students, and to provide them with an extraordinary education,” said Steve Lynn, dean of the Honors College. “Gifts of this magnitude resonant across many lives, many geographical boundaries, and many generations even.  We are extremely grateful for this profound generosity.”

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