Billionaire funds new faculty position at COA

By Bill Trotter, BDN Staff
Posted June 28, 2011, at 6:37 p.m.

BAR HARBOR, Maine — One of the richest men in America is helping to create a faculty chair position at College of the Atlantic.

Robert M. Bass, listed in March by Forbes Magazine in a five-way tie for 74th richest American, and his wife, Anne T. Bass, have given $1.25 million to the school to create the Bass Chair in Earth Systems and GeoSciences faculty position, the college announced Tuesday in a prepared statement.

Bass is a summer resident of Mount Desert Island, where he owns an oceanfront home in the village of Seal Harbor. According to Forbes, the Fort Worth, Texas, resident has an estimated net worth of $4 billion, much of it from investments in the oil industry.

In the prepared statement, Bass indicated that the gift will help address the “highest priority” at the college, which emphasizes environmental education and offers degrees in human ecology.

“The Chair in Earth Systems and GeoSciences will enable College of the Atlantic to add a new discipline in an important disciplinary field,” Bass wrote in the release. “The addition of a new professorship will add both depth and breadth across COA’s curriculum.”

The college indicated it is raising an additional $1.25 million as a match to the gift from Bass. The money will be used to endow the program before the new professorship position is filled.

COA Interim President Andy Griffiths said the gift represents an endorsement of the interdisciplinary education offered by the school.

“We are grateful to the Basses for their ongoing interest in College of the Atlantic and for helping us to meet our students’ passion for greater knowledge of the systems that control the earth, from geology to climate,” Griffiths said.

Robert Bass received an undergraduate degree from Yale and an MBA from Stanford, according to the COA release. He has been president of the holding company Keystone Group and is founder of the Oak Hill family of investment funds.

Anne Bass has an undergraduate degree from Smith College and a master’s degree from Stanford. She is president of the Anne T. and Robert M. Bass Foundation, a trustee of Duke University and Texas Health Resources, and is a director of Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto, Calif.

Bass is one of a handful of Forbes billionaires who summer on MDI. Others include Fidelity Investments executive Edward Johnson, ranked 33rd; supermarket magnate Charles Butt, ranked 50th; Danaher Corp. co-founder Mitchell Rales, ranked 136th; and David Rockefeller, ranked 153rd.

http://bangordailynews.com/2011/06/28/news/hancock/billionaire-funds-new-faculty-position-at-coa/ printed on July 12, 2014