Erwin Academy recognizes lifetime giving to Marietta College. Its name honors a man who was a long-time benefactor of the College. Cornelius B. Erwin was one of central Connecticut's great industrialists. He and a partner, Henry Russell, started the plate lock making company Russell & Erwin Co. in 1839. After several mergers, the company continues to this day and is known as Corbin Russwin. Erwin's great philanthropy towards education and the arts shone greatly after his death in 1885 when his will directed that the greatest portion of his wealth be distributed among numerous charities, including Marietta College—a place he had never visited. Part of his gift—$15,000 to be exact—established the College's first major endowed scholarship. An additional gift of $105,000 was used to pay down Marietta's debt.
As Marietta College's most prestigious gift society, the Erwin Academy, honors alumni and friends who support the College at its highest levels and make it possible for future generations to have the opportunity to learn in a campus environment which fosters academic, athletic, and civic-minded excellence. Academy members play an integral part in the College's future. Lifetime membership is granted by presidential invitation to donors and friends who contribute gifts that cumulatively total $50,000 or more. Membership in the Erwin Academy is available at six recognition levels. Members advance within the academy as their lifetime giving increases. All donations contributed before July 1, 2009, will determine a donor's initial giving level.
The Erwin Academy consists of six giving levels:
Fayerweather Associates ($50,000 to $99,999)
The orphaned son of a Connecticut shoemaker, Daniel B. Fayerweather spent his youth earning his keep as a farm hand and eventually followed in his father's footsteps until he developed shoemaker's colic. His career path shifted when he joined the New York leather trading company, Hoyt Brothers, and soon became a vital part of the corporation. He bequeathed much of his fortune to colleges and universities, including Marietta. His donation allowed for the construction of the first residence hall on campus, Fayerweather Hall, and for the College to pay off a considerable portion of its debt.
Linsley Associates ($100,000 to $499,999)
In the spring of 1835, Marietta College began operating under the guidance of its first president, Dr. Joel Harvey Linsley, an attorney-turned Congregational minister. In addition to his duties as president, he also was the head of the Department of Moral and Intellectual Philosophy. In his book, "Historical Discourse," the late Marietta President Israel Ward Andrews said this of Linsley: "Dr. Linsley was able in the class room, but his true throne was the pulpit. In both positions he did a great work for this college in spite of the fact that so much of his time and strength was spent in asking for alms [donations] to save the imperiled institution." Linsley served as the president from 1835 to 1846. His stepson, Dr. Henry Smith, one of the original faculty members, succeeded him in leading the College from 1846 to 1855.
Andrews Associates ($500,000 to $999,999)
Dr. Israel Ward Andrews, the third and longest-serving president in the College's history, came to Marietta in 1839 and served for 16 years as the Chair of the Mathematics and Natural Philosophy Departments. He meticulously documented all aspects of the College, including authoring a book for the celebration of Marietta's first 50 years. Andrews devoted 47 years to Marietta College. He presented to the Board of Trustees his official resignation in 1884, to be effective the following year when he turned 70 and completed his 30th year as president. He is buried among other historic greats in Marietta's historic Mound Cemetery. Marietta's fourth President, Dr. John Eaton, wrote the following in a biography of his predecessor for the New England Historical and Genealogical Register:
"He believed that God was behind the work at Marietta College, and gave to it the best service of his life, and in his last will, after giving his devoted wife who had shared with him all his cares and toils, the full benefit of his estate, provided that after her death it should be equally divided between the college and his two grandchildren, his only surviving descendants."
Dawes Associates ($1,000,000 to $4,999,999)
The Dawes family—starting with brevet Brigadier Gen. Rufus R. Dawes, Class of 1860, and including Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Vice President of the United States Charles Gates Dawes, Class of 1884—exemplifies a pioneering spirit that encouraged the city of Marietta and the Marietta College community to flourish. Gen. Dawes was elected to the U.S. Congress in 1880 and served on Marietta's Board of Trustees for 28 years, until his death in 1899. A Brigadier General of the 17th Engineers during World War II, Charles Gates Dawes was later the first director of the U.S. Bureau of the Budget and was appointed to the Allied Reparations Commission. As part of that commission, he helped develop the Dawes Plan, which was designed to help Germany recreate its economy. This work led to his sharing the 1925 Nobel Peace Prize.
Bingham Associates ($5,000,000 to $9,999,999)
Devoted to the cause of education, Marietta's First Congregational Church minister, the Reverend Luther G. Bingham founded the Institute of Education in 1830. He and his partner, Mansfield French, proposed to Marietta community leaders the importance of developing an even higher level of education. In 1832, the State of Ohio granted a charter to The Marietta Collegiate Institute and Western Teachers Seminary and, three years later, Marietta College began. Bingham was among the nine original Board of Trustees and, along with French, was behind the undertaking of constructing the first new building that would serve the College, The Old Dorm.
$10,000,000+ Putnam Associates
Descendents of the Putnam family have played an important role in the establishment of both the city of Marietta and of Marietta College. In 1797, Gen. Rufus Putnam and a committee filled with community members met to discuss the need to create an educational academy to serve local youth. This meeting led to the establishment of the Muskingum Academy later that year. Since that time, more than 25 descendents from the Putnam family have either studied or contributed to the betterment of Marietta College. Seven members of the family have served on the Board of Trustees, including Douglas Putnam, who had a 62-year affiliation with Marietta and served on Marietta College's Board for 59 years.
Erwin Academy members receive the following benefits:
- Receive all of the benefits awarded to Mills Society members
- Recognition at Erwin Academy Honor Weekend and in various College publications
- Invited to represent College at external events such as other college presidential inaugurations
- Erwin Academy lapel pin
For more information on the Erwin Academy, please contact the Office of Advancement at 1-800-274-4704.