In a surprise gesture from executives from The Coulter Foundation, established by Westminster alumnus Wallace H. Coulter, Westminster College received two $500,000 gifts, amounting to a donation total of $1 million.
The opening session of the Undergraduate Scholars Forum was slated to proceed as usual on April 18, with keynote speaker Dr. Jerry Kennett to give an address to open the Forum's presentation sessions. This year's opening session also served as a celebration of Wallace H. Coulter's 100th birthday-after whom the Coulter Science Center, one of the main buildings on Westminster's campus, is named. In attendance for this celebration was President, CEO, and Trustee of the Coulter Foundation Sue Van, and Wayne Barlin, vice president and general counsel of the Coulter Foundation.
The session began with the birthday festivities: a video commemorating Coulter's life, and a memorial speech from Barlin, who noted Coulter's life achievements. He also noted Coulter's mischievous side, and invited Van to the podium. Van then took to the podium, and surprised college officials with a gift of $500,000, which acknowledged the campus's significant achievements and the leadership of President Dr. George B. Forsythe.
"The gifts of Wallace H. Coulter and The Coulter Foundation to Westminster College over the years have been transformational and have made possible our state-of-the-art Coulter Science Center, academic scholarship support for our students, campus improvements and our unique cadaver lab," Forsythe said.
After a few moments, Van then matched the donation with another $500,000 in the name of Westminster Board of Trustees Chairman G. Robert Muehlhauser, class of 1968, and his leadership capabilities. Muehlhauser is also a board member for the Coulter Foundation.