Norwich Receives $13 Million in Gifts

Largest Gift Ever Received

Norwich University has received a total of $13 million, in two gifts from the estates of friends of the University.

Norwich recently learned that it would receive $7.4 million from the estate of former trustee Henry Prescott Chaplin. The gift is the largest single gift to the University to date, surpassing the $7.25 million gift from the estate of David B."Dixie" NU'22 and Ruth Hollis in 1996. While serving on the University's Board of Trustees, Chaplin and his wife, Rheta, established a trust for the benefit of Norwich University. Norwich learned that it would receive the balance of the trust following the death of Chaplin's only heir, son Peter Goffe Chaplin, who passed away unexpectedly on April 6, 2004. Norwich also announced that it is the beneficiary of a $5.6 million trust from the estate of Frank Chase 1928 and his wife, Zada.

"We are extremely excited to announce these two fabulous gifts to the University," said Norwich University President Dr. Richard W. Schneider. "These gifts will have a major impact on the University as we continue to grow and expand our academic programming. Norwich University has a long-standing tradition of developing strong relationships between our students, faculty, staff, and friends. We are pleased that both the Chaplin and Chase families held Norwich in a special place in their hearts and made philanthropic gifts to Norwich a part of their legacy."

entrance to Chaplin HallHenry Prescott Chaplin was born in Georgetown, Mass., on February 2, 1885. He entered Brown University in 1905, and then served as a Captain in the Motor Transport Corps in World War I. Following his military service, Chaplin managed and owned several shoe manufacturers in New Hampshire and Vermont, and later became president of the Cone Automatic Machine Company in Windsor, VT.

Chaplin served as a trustee of Norwich University from 1952-62. He was the University's commencement speaker in 1953 and was awarded an honorary Doctor of Laws degree.

Chaplin was a major benefactor of the University prior to his death on June 2, 1962. His financial contributions were significant in the renovation of what was then known as Carnegie Hall on the Upper Parade Ground in 1952-53. The building was rededicated in Chaplin's name in conjunction with his 1953 commencement address. Today, Chaplin Hall houses the division of Architecture and Art.

At the time of Chaplin's passing in 1962, then Norwich president General Ernest Harmon issued a statement which read in part:

"The Norwich Board of Trustees, as well as myself, personally, will greatly miss Henry Chaplin's counsel and wisdom. Over the years he has given generously and unstintingly of his time and means to help raise Norwich to its present high state of effectiveness in the education of young men."

Frank Chase NU'28Frank Chase was born in Proctorsville, Vt., on January 3, 1906. He is a graduate of Norwich, class of '28, with a Bachelor of Science degree in civil engineering. Chase worked for the state of Vermont as an engineer in the Highway Division in St. Albans, Springfield, and White River Junction for more than 44 years, retiring in 1972. A resident of Springfield, Chase passed away on September 28, 2001, having been predeceased by his wife eight years earlier.

Walt Henry '45, remembered Chase in a letter to the University after his passing.

"I can truthfully say he was the kindest and most considerate person for whom a person could work. Having no children or immediate family [Frank and Zada] spent far more hours working for the highway department than most employees. Frank made his job his life. I'm sure there was no one in the state employ that was more conscientious than Frank Chase . . . Frank took care of all his men and women and looked after their welfare. He fought 'city hall' many times for their rights and benefits . . ."

The Chase gift will create endowment support for academic programming, while the Chaplin gift will be used to meet the University's greatest needs as determined by the Board of Trustees.

pubrel@norwich.edu, July 2004

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