This story starts almost 70 years ago. A guy named A. James Clark grew up in Bethesda, Maryland, and his parents didn’t have much money.
After high school, he wanted to go to Cornell but couldn’t afford it. So he went to the University of Maryland instead, and had to hitchhike to class because he couldn’t pay for room and board.
He studied civil engineering, graduated in 1950, and got a job at a construction company. Then he eventually became the PRESIDENT of that company, and started his own business a few years later.
Clark Construction Group is now one of the largest construction companies in America. They do huge projects like the Verizon Center in D.C., and the stadium the Washington Nationals play in.
Anyway, he lived to be 87 years old, and passed away back in 2015. And it turns out he left a VERY large chunk of his fortune to his alma mater . . . almost a QUARTER OF A BILLION DOLLARS.
The exact number is $219.5 million, to be used for scholarships at the University of Maryland. The goal is to double the amount of financial aid students are getting.
It’s the largest single donation the school’s ever gotten, and the sixth largest in U.S. history. (New York Times)