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Saint Anselm College Receives $1 Million Bequest

January 25, 2012

Barbara LeBlanc
College Communications and Marketing
(603) 641-7240

The late Lucille Elliott Davison, a prominent Manchester citizen and widow of construction company owner Robert C. Davison, has bequeathed more than $1 million to Saint Anselm College, where she served as a member of the board of trustees. The gift supports scholarships and the arts.

"This is one of the many extraordinary gifts Mrs. Davison and her husband made to Saint Anselm, showing not only the affection she had for this college but her incredible philanthropic spirit," said Father Jonathan DeFelice, O.S.B., president of the college.

Of the $1.1 million bequeathed by Mrs. Davison's estate, $1 million will establish a fund for acquisitions for the permanent collection of the Alva de Mars Megan Chapel Art Center. The gallery, directed by Fr. Iain MacLellan, O.S.B., is an academic resource for the college and the community, drawing about 4,000 visitors a year to its exhibitions. Its permanent collection holds mostly 20th century art, and its director hopes to expand the collection to better serve the center's academic mission.

"Mrs. Davison was a wonderful friend and mentor," said Fr. Iain. "She had a lot of wisdom and foresight. She also had a tremendous enthusiasm for the visual arts and what they could teach students and members of the community."

The remainder of the gift becomes part of a scholarship fund the Davisons established in 1985 in memory of former Saint Anselm College president Father Bernard Holmes, O.S.B.

Mr. and Mrs. Davison had a long relationship with Saint Anselm College, including construction by Davison Construction Company of several of its buildings. The dining hall is named in their honor, and the monastery, Abbey Church, Dana Center for the Humanities, and Carr Center, are the work of Davison Construction. Since the 1960s, their gifts have totaled $2.5 million. Mrs. Davison also donated works of art to the Chapel Art Center, including a circa 1800 Queen Anne style chest created by New Hampshire cabinet maker Samuel Dunlap.

"Mrs. Davison's unwavering support of the arts and of Saint Anselm College, the arts, and scholarship programs has most certainly enriched the lives of everyone in our campus community," said college president Fr. Jonathan. "We are extremely blessed to have friends and benefactors like Mrs. Davison as we continue to offer a superior liberal arts education to talented young men and women."