I've written before about how timing frequently plays a major role in higher education giving. In one gift I wrote about, an anonymous alumni family gave $25 million to a liberal arts college in Minnesota just before the end of the school's capital campaign. I've also written about donors who've been heavily involved with a school's board of trustees, even serving as chair; these leadership roles often influence the timing of a gift.
Wesleyan University recently received a $20 million gift from alumnus Joshua Boger and his wife Amy to the university's "THIS IS WHY" fundraising campaign, which ends on June 30th. The campaign has raised over $400 million so far, which is big money for liberal arts school like Wesleyan—especially a school known for a more creative student body, whose grads don't flock en masse to Wall Street.
Boger graduated in 1973 with a degree in philosophy and chemistry from Wesleyan, before earning degrees from Harvard. In 1989, he founded Vertex Pharmaceuticals and retired as the company's CEO at the end of last decade.
Boger and Amy are heavily involved in civic life, and many of these commitments focus on New England, particularly Boston. Down in Connecticut, Boger has been a member of Wesleyan's board of trustees since 1999. A decade later, he stepped into his role as chair of the board of trustees and in 2010, the couple gave a $12 million gift to establish the Boger Scholarship Program and the Joshua Boger University Professorship of the Sciences and Mathematics. So Boger has a history of past philanthropy at his alma mater. But more than that, it's worth pointing out that the Bogers gave this gift just around the time that Boger began his tenure as chair.
This recent $20 million gift, meanwhile, comes just as Boger steps down from his role as chair. Talk about coming in with a splash and leaving with a bang!
The couple's contributions to the THIS IS WHY Campaign include $11 million to establish the Joshua '73 and Amy Boger Endowed Wesleyan Scholarship Program, $3 million will endow the Joshua Boger University Professor of the Sciences and Mathematics, and $2 milion will create the Joshua Boger Endowed Fund for Student Research. Wesleyan will name the building, which houses the school's Career Center, College of Letters and Paoletti Art History Wing, Boger Hall.