(Mercersburg) -- A midstate boarding school has just received a record-setting donation from one its alumni. The $100 million gift from Deborah Simon and her foundation is easily the largest in the 120-year history of Mercersburg Academy in Franklin County. It also represents the second largest donation ever made to an independent school in this country.
Head of School Doug Hale says Simon has been a supporter of the school for years.
"I had every reason to believe that in this campaign she was going to be a lead donor in a substantial way," he says. "Did I really anticipate that number? No I didn't. So I was just surprised and delighted and really just so excited."
Simon was a member of the class of 1974. She lives in Indianapolis, where she served as Senior Vice President of the Simon Property Group.
Hale says the gift will be used to support student financial aid, faculty and program development.
"It's a winning formula in terms of what a head of school would dream about, in his best possible dream," he explains.
The lead gift also represents one-third of Mercersburg Academy's overall goal for its new capital campaign.
The 375-acre campus in Mercersburg is home to 430 college prep students from 26 states and 40 countries.
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