President Steven P. O’Day, J.D., L.H.D., has announced the largest single gift in the College’s history, a $20 million bequest from the estate of Clifford J. Grum of Lufkin, Texas. The bequest will provide full-tuition scholarships for eligible students, beginning in 2024-2025.
Grum’s gift comes at an exciting time as the College prepares to celebrate its 175th academic year since its founding in 1849.
“In this time of rising costs, the bequest adds to Austin College’s robust gift-aid program and its unwavering commitment to remove financial barriers for a college education,” said President O’Day. “The gift bolsters the College’s resources to support young people preparing for careers and service in a changing world.”
Clifford Grum grew up in San Antonio and graduated from Austin College in 1956. With the encouragement of Professor Clyde Hall, he pursued a graduate degree at Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, and embarked on a successful business career starting at Temple Industries in Diboll, Texas. In 1973, when Temple merged with Time Inc., Grum and his young family moved to New York, where he served as treasurer of Time, publisher of Fortune Magazine, and executive vice president of Time, Inc. A decade later, when Temple Inland spun out of Time Inc., its headquarters moved to Diboll. Grum returned to nearby Lufkin, Texas, leading the firm as president, CEO, and chair until he retired in 2000.
He was known as a devoted business and civic leader, serving on several national boards and holding leadership roles in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Grum also had a passion for horse racing and was a thoroughbred owner.
Grum was a longtime member of the Austin College Board of Trustees, serving from 1981 to 2001. He stayed closely connected to the College even as a Senior Trustee. Those at Austin College who worked with Grum recalled that he preferred little fanfare for his gifts. His name was not attached to any project until after his death in 2016, when his widow, Mary K. Grum, provided the gift to renovate the sanctuary of the campus’s Wynne Chapel and named it in his honor. With this new $20 million gift, Grum’s legacy is now cemented in the college’s history.
The bequest is one of many gifts to Austin College that have made it possible for 100 percent of students to receive gift aid in the form of grants or scholarships. The generous support enables ’Roos to thrive in all academic disciplines.
“The College is profoundly grateful for Clifford’s remarkable generosity. His foresight and commitment exemplify the unparalleled power of philanthropy to create transformative opportunities for Austin College students, today and for generations to come,” said Gillian Locke ’07, Vice President for Institutional Advancement.