Gift will fund curriculum, museum

by Christopher Kao | 11/4/93 6:00am

At the dedication of the Hood Museum in 1985, former College President David McLaughlin lauded the family that made the building a reality.

"Good judgment, generosity and discretion seem to be the Hood family character traits. To all of the Hoods, and to Barbara Hood, most particularly, we are enormously grateful," he said.

And College fund-raisers today would surely echo those eight-year-old words. Barbara Hood, who passed away this spring, left an endowment of $8 million to the College, a donation that will help launch the new curriculum.

Paul Sheff, director of special gifts, said the Hood bequest was "one of the most thoughtful gifts that has been made in my tenure at Dartmouth."

The endowment, announced to College Trustees at the Volunteer Leadership Conference in Hanover earlier this month, establishes two Barbara C. and Harvey P. Hood Class of 1918 funds. One will support the new arts and sciences curriculum and the other will fund an endowment to fund the position of curator of academic programming at the Hood Museum.

The endowment fulfills the dreams of the late Harvey Hood '18, Barbara Hood's husband, who stated in the trust funds he established in 1975 that he hoped the money would be used for "a project of significant educational importance" and a building with the Hood name on it, said Lucretia Martin, special assistant to the president.

Martin said Harvey Hood, who passed away in 1978, would have been thrilled that his donations went to fund the Hood Museum and the new curriculum.

She said the endowment for the curator's position is important because it connects the new curriculum and the new art requirement with the Hood family and their museum. "It just seemed perfect," she said.

The curator of academic programs is responsible for arranging programs that relate Hood exhibits to College classes. "It's a very unusual position, but it's appropriate for a college or university museum. It ensures that resources are made available to the right people," said Kathy Hart, the current curator. Hart said previous funding for her position came from the Montgomery Foundation. She said College administrators had been looking for an endowment for her position and decided to use part of the Hood bequest for that purpose.

Members of the Hood family have been ardent supporters of arts at Dartmouth, exemplified by the $7 million the Hoods donated to help build the Hood Museum.

Harvey Hood, who was the president and chairman of the H. P. Hood Company, a dairy product company, "subscribed to and furthered the College's belief that an education must include exposure to the full breadth of human knowledge and experience," according to a Hood Museum press release announcing the donation.

Harvey Hood served as a trustee from 1941 to 1967.

"As a family they are one of the College's most significant benefactors in a cumulative sense," Martin said. "Their loyalty is substantial."

"The relationship between Dartmouth and the Hood family goes through years and years and years," Sheff said.

The Hood family has donated funds to a "range of things and a range of interests," Martin said. "They clearly were one of the significant benefactors of Dartmouth and other philanthropic opportunities, especially in the greater Boston area."

Many of the Hoods' donations are anonymous. Martin said the family is very private and they prefer to remain unnamed.

"The satisfaction of being able to give is their reward," she said. Martin said the last time Barbara Hood visited campus, about a year ago, "you could just see the satisfaction in her face as she saw how the Hood has become an integral part of the campus."

"The Hood Museum was the light of her life in her later years," Martin said.