The Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California, has announced a $4.5 million bequest from a trust established by developer Samuel F.B. Morse nearly half a century ago.
The largest single gift in the history of the institute will establish the Samuel F. B. Morse Fund, which will be invested as part of the Middlebury endowment and support student scholarships, academic programs, and other priorities of the institute into the future. Before his death in 1969, Morse, the founder of Pebble Beach on the Monterey Peninsula, created the S.F.B. Morse Trust to provide income to his children until the last passed away, at which time the remaining funds were to be divided among three educational institutions — the Middlebury Institute, Yale University, and the Stevenson School, a boarding school in Pebble Beach. In April, his youngest daughter, Mary Morse Shaw, died at the age of 97, triggering the distribution of the trust.
Morse was an early supporter of the institute, underwriting the loan to purchase the former city library building in downtown Monterey, and a building on its campus was dedicated in his name after his death. "When he was approached by the institute at its inception he understood that the charter was to provide an education for those who wished to be in the foreign service or do business abroad and who wished to polish their language skills," said Charles Osborne, a grandson and biographer of Morse. "The institute has done that and more and continues to do so. S.F.B. would be proud of the institution that has grown to be such an important part of Monterey, and of what it has contributed to the world."
"We are honored and deeply grateful to Mr. Morse and his family for believing in the institute’s mission during its early years and for planning to provide generous support well into the future," said Middlebury president Laurie L. Patton. "While he could only imagine the possible future growth of our then small school, Mr. Morse believed in the power of education and, as a visionary and innovator, understood the importance of language as a means for truly understanding other cultures."
(Photo courtesy of Pebble Beach Company)