University of Vermont

Alumni Couple Contribute $1 Million for Honors College Support at UVM

Gift will fund scholarships, summer research fellowships

UVM President Thomas Sullivan and alumnus Robert Brennan ’83 announced a $1 million gift to the UVM Honors College at the university's Reunion and Homecoming Weekend celebration. (Photo: Jeff Clarke)

A UVM alumni couple and their family have pledged $1 million to support students in the Honors College at the University of Vermont.

Robert “Rob” Brennan, UVM class of 1983 and his wife, Carolyn Brennan, UVM class of 1982, have pledged $1 million over the next five years to build on the success of the university’s Honors College and add to their prior giving for the same purpose.

"Our sincere thanks to Rob and Carolyn and their family for this wonderful commitment to our students,” said Abu Rizvi, dean of the Honors College. “We're very excited by what this gift will do to bring excellent students to UVM and to support and challenge them while they're here. Visionary philanthropy such as this is central to our main mission of attracting the best students and helping them do their best work."

Half of the funds will be added to the family’s existing Brennan Family Scholarship Fund, established with an initial $100,000 gift in 2006 as part of UVM’s second comprehensive campaign. Since inception, the fund has awarded a total of $77,500 to five Honors College students.

The Brennan Family Scholarship Fund provides annual scholarship support, based on merit, for one or more of the most talented students admitted to the Honors College each year.

The other half of the current gift will establish the Brennan Summer Research Fellowship, providing grants of up to $5,000 annually for Honors College students to pursue undergraduate research during the summer months under the tutelage of UVM faculty members across the various research disciplines. The gift effectively increases by 50 percent the amount of funding available to the Honors College to support such summer research projects on a permanent basis.

“Carolyn and I are happy to be able to celebrate and support academic excellence at UVM,” Rob Brennan said. “We wanted our giving to have an impact university wide, and the Honors College enrolls outstanding students across the university’s majors and disciplines.”

Brennan is senior managing director of Guggenheim Partners and heads the Commercial Real Estate Finance Group for the firm, based in New York City. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the University of Vermont Foundation and the UVM Board of Trustees. Robert and Carolyn Brennan reside in Chappaqua, N.Y., and have three children.