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News from the Hilltop

May 22, 2013

Boston businessman with no previous BSC connection donates $1 million to college

BIRMINGHAM, Ala.—John G. Berylson, a Boston-based businessman who founded Chestnut Hill Ventures, has donated $1 million to Birmingham-Southern College, officials at the college announced. John G. Berylson

Berylson—a strong supporter of higher education who has also given generously to his alma mater, Brown University, and to Harvard University, where he earned an MBA—said he was so impressed by Birmingham-Southern’s campus, students, and faculty that he decided to make an investment. The funds are unrestricted and may be used for a range of items, including scholarships, faculty salaries, and general operating expenses.

“This is a generous gift from a man who has no formal ties to Birmingham-Southern but recognizes success when he sees it,” said BSC’s president, Gen. Charles C. Krulak, a long-time friend of Berylson’s who invited him to visit campus. “I know that if everyone who is as committed as John to higher education could experience BSC, they would also be moved to help this college get back on sound financial footing.”

On two visits to Birmingham and the campus, Berylson, who is chair and CEO of Chestnut Hill, spoke with senior administrators, professors, and met dozens of students in a variety of settings.

“It was unlike anything I’ve seen—everyone I met there just showed incredible enthusiasm for what they do,” Berylson said. “It’s such a great institution, with great leadership, and I’m happy to be a part of it.”

Berylson also has an MS from New York University. He is chairman at Affinity Solutions and Millwall Football Club, a London professional soccer team. He is past chairman of the Georgia-based company Fleetcor Technologies Operating Company LLC and has also served as chairman of American Capital Access Holdings Ltd., GrandVision, S.A., and MotherNature.Com Inc.

Berylson has served on the boards of the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, the Newton-Wellesley Hospital, and the Brown University Sports Foundation, among others. He and his wife and children are trustees of the Richard and Susan Smith Family Foundation, which gives an estimated $10 million a year in grants dedicated to promoting better health, educational opportunities and economic mobility for residents of the Greater Boston area.

Click here for information on a second large gift to the college.

About Birmingham-Southern College:

Birmingham-Southern College is a four-year, private liberal arts institution in Birmingham, Ala., founded in 1856 and affiliated with the United Methodist Church. It enrolls about 1,200 students from more than 30 states and 16 foreign countries. Learn more online at www.bsc.edu.