Dorsey Estate Bequeathes $6.7M to McDaniel College

WESTMINSTER, Md.—McDaniel College announced the largest bequest for scholarships in the college’s history.

Approximately $6.7 million from the estate of 1891 alumnus Philip Henry Dorsey of St. Clements Bay, Md. (St. Mary’s County), will be used to establish an endowment for scholarships. McDaniel has received a check for more than $975,000 as the first installment of the gift with much of the estate coming in the form of property.

According to McDaniel President Roger Casey, “That the family descendant of an alumnus from over 120 years ago made a commitment to transfer Mr. Dorsey’s legacy so that another century of students can attend this college is a remarkable testament about the life-changing power of a McDaniel education.”

Philip Henry Dorsey was one of 18 students to earn a bachelor’s degree from Western Maryland College (now McDaniel) in 1891. Total enrollment of the college then was 154, and the faculty included the college’s namesake William R. McDaniel, professor of mathematics and astronomy.

After graduation, Dorsey returned to St. Mary’s County, Md., where he helped to manage farmland and spent much of his life involved in the buying and selling of crops. He never married and was beloved by his nieces and nephews.

Upon his death in 1945, Dorsey’s will established a trust fund to provide scholarships for his descendants to attend Western Maryland College (now McDaniel). To date, five of his descendants have earned degrees from the college ranging from the classes of 1948 through 1962. The college has researched the Trust and its ongoing provision to fund scholarships for Dorsey’s descendants and worked with its trustees to manage the transfer of funds.

Elizabeth “Betty” Grice Helms of Richmond, Va., current trustee of the Dorsey Trust and Dorsey’s great-great niece, said, “It’s my honor to complete the wishes of ‘Uncle Phil’ and his descendants.”

McDaniel College, founded in 1867, is a four-year private college of the liberal arts and sciences with 1,600 undergraduates and 1,560 part-time graduate students. The college offers more than 70 undergraduate programs of study, including dual and student-designed majors, plus 25 highly regarded graduate and professional studies programs. In addition to its Westminster, Md., campus, McDaniel is the only American university with a European campus in Budapest, Hungary. For more information, visit or call 410-857-2290.

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