Garrett College announced Tuesday it is the recipient of a $2 million gift from a trust set up by the late Daniel E. Offutt III, an Oakland native who was an artist, metal sculptor and philanthropist.
The gift is dedicated entirely to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) initiatives. Income generated from the endowed gift will be split between STEM scholarships and technology renewal for the college’s recently opened STEM Building.
“This is a transformational gift,” said Dr. Richard Midcap, Garrett College’s president. “The scholarship funds will increase student access to STEM education, and the technology renewal fund will ensure our state-of-the-art facility remains that way.”
Richard Orenstein, trustee for the Offutt Trust, recently visited Garrett College to tour the STEM Building and discuss the estate gift. The Garrett College Foundation officially received the gift, to be administered as intended by the late Mr. Offutt, who passed away in 2016.
“I am delighted to be the intermediary for this gift from Dan’s trust,” said Orenstein. “He had contributed to Garrett College over prior years, and this is a fitting tribute to the college’s growth and future prosperity.”
Midcap also announced that the Garrett College Board of Trustees has approved recognizing the gift by naming the recently opened STEM facility the Daniel E. Offutt III STEM Center.
“The board strongly believes that it is only fitting for this facility, which is where the students benefiting from this gift will spend most of their classroom time, to be named in Mr. Offutt’s honor,” said Don Morin, chair of the Garrett College Board of Trustees, who added the college will conduct a naming ceremony for the STEM Building next spring, with Orenstein representing Offutt.
The college only recently launched a campaign to raise $500,000 for STEM scholarships and technology renewal, with First United Bank & Trust President Carissa Rodeheaver and Dr. Rosie Versteegen as campaign co-chairs. More than half of that amount was raised or pledged before August’s official campaign launch, with the fund now over $2.4 million.
“Thanks to Mr. Offutt’s extraordinary generosity, we’ve exceeded even our most optimistic goals for the STEM campaign,” said Cherie Krug, executive director of the Garrett College Foundation.
“We are extremely grateful to Mr. Offutt for his most generous and sustaining gift,” said Susie Crawford, chair of the Garrett College Foundation Board of Directors. “His generosity will allow Garrett College to make significant investments in our STEM students and technologies for the foreseeable future.”
Midcap credited Krug, Grants and Special Funds Coordinator Kearstin Hinebaugh, former GC President Richard MacLennan, and Executive Assistant to the President Marcia Knepp for working with Mr. Offutt regarding a potential estate gift.
“Dr. MacLennan, Cherie, Kearstin and Marcia were all involved in the initial conversations with Mr. Offutt and played critical roles in developing a strong relationship between Mr. Offutt and the college,” said Midcap, noting Mr. Offutt had previously established an endowment that is already awarding STEM scholarships to GC students and has grown to nearly $100,000.
The STEM Building is a renovation and expansion project that includes classrooms, student spaces, faculty offices and laboratories for physics, biology, chemistry, engineering, and robotics. A well-attended STEM Building Grand Opening took place in early September.
In addition to ensuring a stunningly successful conclusion to the STEM campaign, Midcap said the Offutt gift will allow the college to begin planning a capital campaign to support the Community Education and Performing Arts Center (CEPAC), which is currently in the design stage.