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Dartmouth Announces Largest Scholarship Bequest in Its History

Telecommunications pioneer Glenn Britt ’71, Tuck ’72, and his wife Barbara Britt, shown here on a cruise in Europe in 2012, left a bequest that will enhance undergraduate financial aid awards and fund scholarship support for Tuck students.

President Sian Leah Beilock announced today that an exceptional gift of over $150 million will improve access to Dartmouth education for undergraduate AB students from middle-income families.

Glenn Britt ’71, Tuck ’72, a Time Warner Cable CEO and pioneer in the telecommunications business, and his late wife, Barbara Britt, left a legacy to Dartmouth and its Tuck School of Business. The gift will allow Dartmouth to nearly double its existing income criterion for a “zero parent contribution” for undergraduates, from $65,000 with normal assets to $125,000, the most generous barrier in the country.

The contribution represents Dartmouth’s largest bequest solely for scholarships in its 255-year history. Three-quarters of the Britts’ gift will be used to improve undergraduate financial aid awards, with the remaining quarter going toward scholarship funding for Tuck students.

“Glenn Britt credited Dartmouth for transforming his life, and he was tremendously grateful for the financial aid award that made his Dartmouth experience possible,” President Beilock said. “This remarkable bequest from Glenn and Barbara ensures that, regardless of background, the dream of a Dartmouth education can become a reality.”

The policy change arising from the Britts’ contribution will take effect in the next academic year. It will aid undergraduates from middle-income families pursuing bachelor’s degrees, as well as all qualifying sophomores, juniors, and seniors, as well as incoming Class of 2028 members.

The new policy will provide annual financial assistance to about 350 families from all four undergraduate classes. Students from families earning less than $125,000 per year will be requested to contribute monies from summer work and on-campus employment totaling $5,000.

“We are proud of the racial, ethnic, and geographic diversity reflected in Dartmouth’s student body, but we want to do even more to attract a wider range of students from middle-income families,” says Beilock. “By elevating the family contribution threshold to $125,000, we will not only be saying to them that a Dartmouth education is within reach; we will also be adding to the diversity of backgrounds and viewpoints of our students, an educational plus for everyone on campus.”

“Coupled with our recent decision to reactivate the standardized testing requirement for undergraduate admissions, which will benefit the most promising students regardless of their background, the generosity of the Britts is enabling us to take some major steps forward.”

Pew Research Center analysis of data from the Census Bureau’s 2021 Current Population Survey shows middle-income tiers based on size of the household. (Pew Research Center/Richard Clark graphic)

 

Barbara Britt passed away in August, following Glenn Britt’s death in 2014.When their estate is finally settled, we will know the exact size of their donation. Dartmouth and Tuck are assured of getting at least $150 million, therefore the institution is publicizing the bequest as undergraduate admissions and financial aid choices are set to be released on March 28. The new Britt Scholarship at the College and Britt Scholars at Tuck will be part of Dartmouth’s financial assistance packages for the 2024-25 academic year.

The Britts’ donation to Tuck is the largest single outright gift in business school history. Those who know Glenn Britt believe that the inflow of endowed scholarship financing will be revolutionary, comparable to his impact on the telecommunications business. The contribution will help Tuck attract and enroll extraordinarily brilliant students, particularly those with significant financial burdens, such as first-generation students, who now account for 19% of the Tuck Class of 2025.

“The world needs more wise, decisive leaders like Glenn Britt, who understood how to craft a compelling vision for a better future, and then brought that vision to life through inclusive, high-performing teams,” says Matthew Slaughter, the Paul Danos Dean of the Tuck School of Business. “Having a cohort of Britt Scholars in perpetuity will ensure we continue to provide a life-altering Tuck education to the most deserving students, in Glenn’s and Barbara’s names.”

Greater accessibility for middle-income families

The Britts’ bequest builds on the success of Dartmouth’s Call to Lead campaign, which concluded this past June. During the campaign, alumni, families, and friends committed more than $500 million to endowed scholarships and more than $400 million dedicated to undergraduate financial aid through annual giving to the Dartmouth College Fund, making Dartmouth’s financial aid program one of the most competitive in U.S. higher education. Through this generosity, Dartmouth was able to:

  • Become the sixth U.S. institution of higher education to offer need-blind admissions to all undergraduate applicants while meeting 100% of demonstrated need, regardless of citizenship,
  • Eliminate required undergraduate student loans by replacing them with expanded scholarships,
  • Extend financial aid support to undergraduates studying off-campus, including terms abroad, and
  • Eliminate the parent contribution for families with annual incomes of $65,000 or less and typical assets, with the threshold soon rising to $125,000 thanks to the Britts’ bequest.

“Increasing the threshold for expected parent contributions for a greater number of families is a strong, important commitment to addressing the college affordability concerns for middle-income families,” says Lee Coffin, vice president and dean of admissions and financial aid. “College affordability is a serious issue for these families.”

Self-effacing and intellectually curious

Glenn Britt was a telecommunications innovator who helped usher in the era of video on demand, the digital video recorder, and high-speed internet access. Tryg Myhren ’58, Tuck ’59, former chair and CEO of the American Television and Communications Corp., which was acquired by Time Inc. and became the core of Time Warner Cable, characterized Britt as a soft-spoken, talented executive who didn’t call attention to himself.

“Glenn wasn’t a peacock. He was a solid, well-grounded leader who possessed truly significant capabilities in finance and strategic planning,” said Myhren. “And he loved Dartmouth in all respects. He found his time in Hanover to be intellectually inspiring and quite enjoyable.”

Britt grew up in Nyack, N.Y., in a family of modest means, and attended Dartmouth with a generous financial aid award. An economics major, he was a member of the marching band and worked at WDCR, the student radio station. He graduated as a Rufus Choate Scholar and a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

After receiving his MBA from Tuck, Britt joined the controller’s department at Time Inc. He soon met Barbara Little, a journalist and photographer for FYI, Time’s in-house publication. She was a New York native and graduated from Douglass College, then the women’s college at Rutgers, with a degree in history. They married in 1975.

The Britts were avid travelers and supporters of many causes, including the arts, and both served as board members of the Manhattan Theatre Club. Barry Grove ’73, the theater company’s executive producer emeritus, described the Britts as self-effacing and intellectually curious, with Glenn bringing finance and marketing expertise to the organization and Barbara sharing her passion for education.

“Glenn was an important and influential executive. He could have dashed into meetings and skipped out early. But it was quite the opposite. I would show up for an 8 a.m. finance committee meeting, and he would already be sitting at the table with his suit jacket off, ready to go to work,” Grove recalled. “In addition to their service on our finance and education committees, both of them chose to join our artistic committees—not to opine but to learn. They both enjoyed learning and exploring new areas of knowledge, and ultimately each of them became members of our executive committee.”

Barbara Britt had a lifelong interest in conservation and animal welfare in addition to the arts, and she continued to serve as a board member, fundraiser, and volunteer for multiple organizations in New York, Westport, Conn., and Hawaii after Glenn’s passing. She was a powerful advocate for the Manhattan Theatre Club’s educational outreach program, which has engaged thousands of students over the past three decades.

The New York Times described Britt’s career as encompassing “the shift from televisions with rabbit ears to streaming video.” He became president of Time Warner Cable in 1999 and CEO two years later. When Time Warner spun off the cable company, he became its chairman and chief executive. Time Warner Cable grew from a $6 billion division to an independent, publicly traded corporation with $21 billion in annual revenue during his tenure.

Britt championed greater diversity in the telecommunications industry, and he received the National Association for Multi-ethnicity in Communications’ Stanley B. Thomas Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award as well as election into the Broadcasting & Cable Hall of Fame. In 2009, Britt was one of five executives appointed by President Barack Obama to a task force charged with developing a national blueprint for strengthening science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education.

Britt was a generous donor to Dartmouth, volunteered as an admissions ambassador, and served on the Tuck Board of Advisors. The Britts enjoyed connecting with Tuck students and supporting their exploration of new technologies through the Glassmeyer/McNamee Center for Digital Strategies. By establishing the Britt Impact Technology Series at the center, the Britts introduced thousands of students to innovative ideas and career opportunities.

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