William and Sonja David

William and Sonja Davidow gave a record-breaking $10.2 million to Colby-Sawyer College.

A California couple has made a record $10.2 million donation to Colby-Sawyer College, a liberal arts college located in New London.

“Colby-Sawyer is a college of the future,” said William Davidow, an author and investor who shares deep ties to the college with his wife, Sonja Davidow.

Sonja Davidow is a 1956 graduate and served on the college’s board of trustees. The couple has long supported the college’s financial aid fund, and a portion of their most recent gift will help students who otherwise might not have been able to afford the school.

“Financial aid made it possible for Sonja to attend Colby-Sawyer,” William Davidow said. “It was a gift that changed her life, so we would love others to have access to that same life-changing opportunity.”

According to the college, most of the Davidows’ gift will benefit the college’s endowment, increasing the $57 million fund by 20%.

“Sonja and Bill Davidow’s generosity is truly transformative for the college,” Colby-Sawyer President Susan Stuebner said. “By giving this gift to the endowment, the Davidows have signaled their belief in the well-being of the institution and its future.

The college plans to use $4 million of the gift to fund the establishment of two endowed faculty chairs. An additional $500,000 will be used to establish a fund to maintain and improve the Davidow Center for Art + Design, the college’s newest building. Another $500,000 will create an endowed scholarship fund for students.

Some of the gifts will be used to help attract more donations, according to the school. The school will use $3 million of the Davidows’ gift for matching donations to fund faculty chairs and scholarship funding. When all of the matching gifts are realized the school anticipates growing the endowment by $15 million, or 30%.

“For decades, Sonja and Bill have been true champions for Colby-Sawyer and we are deeply grateful for their extraordinary generosity,” Director of Development Beth Bryant Camp said.

William Davidow met his wife in the mid 1950s when she was at Colby-Sawyer and he was attending Dartmouth College.

“At a time when many are questioning the value of a college education, Colby-Sawyer is producing graduates that are in great demand as they enter the workforce,” William Davidow said.

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