Gordon College donor reneged on $50M pledge due to misgivings about president

By Mary Moore/Boston Business Journal

Gordon College Donors, philanthropyA wealthy California real estate developer whose $60 million pledge to Gordon College made him the biggest donor in the college’s history says he added another $50 million to his bequest — but reversed course after becoming disillusioned with the Wenham school’s leaders.

Dale E. Fowler told the Boston Business Journal he instead gave half the total amount he had pledged to Gordon College to Chapman University near his California home. In 2013, Chapman University, located in Orange, named its law school for Fowler after receiving $55 million from him.

When Fowler and his wife Sarah announced their original $60 million gift to Gordon College in 2007, R. Judson Carlberg, now deceased, was the college’s president.

“(Gordon College) got a new president who we have had serious misgivings about. We have not had a very pleasant relationship with that individual,” said Fowler, referring to President Michael Lindsay, in a phone interview.

Fowler told the Business Journal his frustration is unrelated to any of the college’s recent issues. In fact, Fowler said, he had given the $55 million gift to Chapman University long before any of the recent headlines broke about Gordon College.

Fowler said the additional $50 million in assets he added to the original bequest to Gordon College was announced at a meeting of the Gordon College trustees. Most of the original $60 million bequest remains intact, Fowler said.

Kurt Keilhacker, a venture capitalist based in California and the chairman of Gordon College’s Board of Trustees, said that he and other college officials were unaware that Fowler had added $50 million to his original pledge.

As for Fowler‘s opinion of Lindsay, Keilhacker said, “Sometimes there’s a clash of personalities that is not always situated in fact.” He declined to elaborate.

The tension between Fowler and Lindsay has become public as Gordon endures considerable public criticism for banning homosexual activity by faculty, staff or students. City officials in Salem and Lynn severed relationships over the policy, which came under scrutiny after Lindsay joined religious leaders in signing a letter asking President Barack Obama for an exemption to a presidential order barring federal contractors from discriminating in hiring based on sexual orientation.

Similarly, the student newspaper at Emmanuel College reported last week that the college’s athletic teams will no longer play teams from Gordon College, a protest by Emmanuel’s athletic department related to the letter that Lindsay signed. The two schools are not in the same athletic conference, but their teams played each other as a result of contracts they sign, which will not be renewed, the student newspaper reported.

Gordon College also has had to respond to questions about its policy on homosexual activity from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, or NEASC, the regional body that accredits colleges and universities.

More recently, Gordon College officials have faced criticism by some faculty members for the college’s decision to auction off a portion of the rare books included in the historic Edward Payson Vining collection.

Source: Boston Business Journal

Patricia Annino is a sought after speaker and nationally recognized authority on women and estate planning. She educates and empowers women to value themselves and their contributions in order to ACCOMPLISH GREAT THINGS in the world – and in so doing PROTECT THEMSELVES, those they love, and the organizations they care about. Annino recently released her new book, “It’s More Than Money, Protect Your Legacy” available at Amazon.com. To download Annino’s FREE eBook, Estate Planning 101 visit, http://www.patriciaannino.com.

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