The culmination of a lifetime of philanthropy benefiting Hobart and William Smith, the Colleges recently received $3.5 million from the estate of the late Julius G. Blocker ’53 to establish The Julius G. Blocker Endowed Fund in honor of his mother, the late Maria Blocker. The Blocker Fund will allow Hobart and William Smith student fellows to study in Germany for a semester, academic year or several summers and will cover the cost of tuition, health insurance and a stipend for educational expenses.
“Julius’ generous gift will make a tremendous difference in the lives of Hobart and William Smith students in perpetuity,” says President Mark D. Gearan. “It was my privilege to have known Julius over the past years and it gives me great satisfaction that his name and the name of his mother will live on at Hobart and William Smith.”
Blocker’s interest in Germany began as a student at Hobart and grew while studying international affairs at Columbia University and during a Fulbright in Germany.
“He often mentioned that it was the academic rigor of the Western Civilization courses and the multidisciplinary approach of the Colleges as a whole that instilled a life-long interest in learning,” says Director of Development for Principal Gifts K.C. Cassell ’82, P’07, P’10, P’12, recalling many conversations he had with Blocker. “He credited Hobart with setting the foundation that led to his success.”
After the death of his father, Blocker returned from Germany to New York City to assist in running a family-owned convalescent home. He went on to direct that home and many others for 35 years.
“As Julius became involved in the convalescent home community, he also became an active philanthropist and collector in the art communities of New York and Key West,” Cassell explains. “He was a regular supporter of the Colleges. He consistently gave to the Annual Fund, was a member of the Wheeler Society and supported the Colleges’ general endowed scholarship fund as a way of giving back to the place that he felt gave him so much.”
Realizing that he could help transform the HWS community that had transformed him, Blocker had a vision for his alma mater. “Later in his life, Julius wanted to support the progress in the Center for Global Education by allowing HWS students to experience German culture in an abroad program, just as he had,” Cassell says. “The Blocker Fund will support students living and studying in Germany, like Julius did, for years to come.”
“Blocker’s investment in our program and his belief in the power of global education to transform students is both inspiring and rewarding,” says Director of the Center for Global Education Thomas D’Agostino. “Gifts like his make it possible for us to educate world citizens and to help instill in students the importance of a global community.”