John D. Rockefeller, Jr., yesterday gave one million dollars in securities toward revitalizing the Divinity School and in so doing has touched off "an avalanche" of giving, according to George H. Williams, Acting Dean of the Divinity School.
"This money has opened up a new era in the Divinity School and the University. Theology has been restored to its proper place," Dean Williams commented last night on learning of the gift.
Rockefeller's donation, when added to approximately $1,000,000 contributed during the pat year and a half and an additional $500,000 from the general funds of the University, brings the total of the Divinity Endowment Drive to approximately $2,500,000. This is half the amount needed to reach a goal of $5,000,000.
In announcing the gift, President Pusey commented, "We are still a considerable distance short of our full need, but I feel certain that Mr. Rockefeller's judgment and leadedship will encourage others to join in providing the resources necessary to support a significant program."
Rockfeller first made known his intention to give the University $1,000,000 in a letter to "Pusey dated Dec. 22. He wrote to the President:
"Your profound belief in the underlying importance of the spiritual life promises to have far-reaching influence on education in this country. That one of your first concerns in accepting the presidency of Harvard University is the development of a strong and effective Divinity School further emphasized the strength of your belief."
"Tremendous" Pusey Leadership
After specifying the amount of his donation, Rockefeller continued, "In the position which Harvard University and you as its President have taken, I see the dawn of a new day in the educational world."
Acting Dean Williams termed the contribution "the result of President Pusey's personal effort. He is to be congratulated on this achievement," Williams said. After veiling the totals of the Drive thus far, Walter H. Trumbull '15, national vice-chairman of the Harvard Divinity School Endowment Fund, also praised Pusey. "The leadership of the President has been tremendous. We see it on every hand."
Trumbull explained that when the goal of $5,000,000 is reached, the Corporation will increase its contribution from University funds by another $500,000. With its previous endowment of about $1,000,000, the Divinity School then will have a total endowment of $7,000,000 for establishing a strong center of religion.