Six new named inductees to the Colby-Sawyer Legends Society and two anonymous donors were honored at a ceremony on Wednesday, Oct. 11. The Legends Society recognizes the exceptional philanthropy of those who have made $1 million or more in lifetime gifts to the college. This year’s named inductees are Agnes Cornell Cook ’47, Chase and Wendy Carey, the Davis Educational Foundation, Gail Graham Lee ’62, The Jack and Dorothy Byrne Foundation, and the Withington Foundation.
“The extraordinary support and generosity of our newest Legends Society members enable the college to provide a high quality, transformational learning environment for our students,” said Susan D. Stuebner, Colby-Sawyer President and Professor of Business and Social Sciences and Volanakis Family Presidential Chair. “Our Legends’ meaningful commitments, combined with gifts of all sizes from other constituents, allow Colby-Sawyer to build upon our 187-year history and to evolve and innovate to meet our present and future goals.”
Formed in 2003, the Legends’ Society’s roster includes alumni, members of the local community and charitable organizations that support higher education, among others.
“Colby-Sawyer is so fortunate to benefit from the support of so many alumni and friends,” Colby-Sawyer College Board of Trustees Chair Lisa Hogarty said. “Through their generosity, these inductees to the Legends Society have made a lasting and positive difference in the life of the college.”
This year’s inductees come from a variety of backgrounds, and many have directed that their gifts, in part or in full, be used for specific purposes by the college.
Along with her husband, Jeffery Cook, Agnes Cornell Cook '47 quietly donated to the Colby-Sawyer Foundation for many years. In 2009, Agnes notified the college of her intention to include it as a beneficiary of her will, planning to divide the proceeds from the sale of a 180-acre parcel of land between Colby-Sawyer and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. As a result, after her passing in 2020, Colby-Sawyer College was the beneficiary of nearly $1.4 million.
In the short time since Wendy joined the Colby-Sawyer Board of Trustees in 2019, Wendy and Chase Carey have made a lasting and transformative impact on the college community. The Careys have used their support to address a number of vital projects across the campus, beginning with a gift to revitalize the Elizabeth Kind Van Cise Fitness Center at the Dan and Kathleen Hogan Sports Center in 2019. The next year, they took the lead as the first donors to support the college’s expanded partnership with Dartmouth Health, inspiring others to join them. Their investment in the health sciences continued through a major naming gift to the Janet Udall Schaefer ’52 Center for Health Sciences, which will make possible the completion of the project.
Colby-Sawyer received its first grant from the Davis Educational Foundation in 1992 and has received continued support from the foundation over the past 30 years. Under the leadership of Chair Edward MacKay and Director of Grants and Programs Leanne Greeley Bond, the Davis Educational Foundation provides strategic funding for undergraduate programs at colleges and universities in the six New England states. Their contributions have included grants for facilities improvements, faculty development, information technology and the continuing evolution of teaching and learning at the college.
Gail Graham Lee '62’s exceptional philanthropy over the years included support for the Colby-Sawyer Fund, Lethbridge Lodge, residence hall renovations and other college initiatives. In 2010, together with her siblings, Gail made a gift to the Davidow Center for Art + Design in memory of her mother, Barbara Thomas Graham ’37. She also directed a generous gift to Presidential Initiatives in 2018 for President Stuebner to use the funds where they were most needed. Following her passing, Colby-Sawyer became the recipient of her planned gift of nearly $3 million — at that time, the largest bequest the college had ever received. Gail’s estate gift has also supported the construction of the Janet Udall Schaefer ’52 Center for Health Sciences.
For 17 years, The Jack & Dorothy Byrne Foundation has consistently provided support for Colby-Sawyer’s nursing program, increasing its accessibility to students from all walks of life, ensuring that its faculty are well-prepared to provide training of the highest quality and enabling that training to take place in state-of-the-art facilities. The Byrne Foundation and its president, Mrs. Dorothy Byrne, have demonstrated a noteworthy commitment to improving lives throughout the entire region, responding to a critical need for healthcare workers in New Hampshire by supporting the training of nurses and other healthcare professionals.
More than 20 years ago, under the direction of William and Anastasia Payne Rooke ’50, the Withington Foundation began supporting Colby-Sawyer by helping to make possible the construction of the Curtis L. Ivey Science Center. In recent years, Andrew Rooke has carried on his family’s legacy of philanthropy, making gifts in his mother’s memory to support Colby-Sawyer’s key institutional priorities and initiatives. In 2020, the foundation invested in the growth of the School of Nursing & Health Sciences and later made a major contribution to support construction of the Janet Udall Schaefer ’52 Center for Health Sciences.
The impact made by these six donors, in addition to that of the two others that declined to be named, will be felt for generations.
"These donors are directly responsible for providing incredible opportunities to our current and future students,” Vice President for College Advancement Dan Parish said of this year’s inductees. “Their gifts will fund scholarships, engaged learning experiences like field study experiences, and cutting-edge facilities and technology that will prepare our graduates for productive and rewarding careers."