$12 Million Given to N.J. School

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Hightstown, N.J.--In what school officials say is the largest individual donation ever made to an American private school, the publisher and former U.S. ambassador Walter H. Annenberg has pledged $12 million to the Peddie School here.

Officials of the 119-year-old private secondary school said at a news conference on the school's campus that they will use the money to raise teachers' salaries, increase financial aid to students, and pay for the construction of an arts center and the renovation of other buildings.

With Mr. Annenberg's contribution, Peddie has raised $17 million toward its fundraising goal of $25 million.

Peddie, a nonprofit boarding and day school with 510 students in grades 8 through 12, has an annual operating budget of about $5 million, officials said. Tuition, room, and board come to $8,653 a year.

Flanked by Gov. Thomas H. Kean and U.S. Secretary of Education Terrel H. Bell, Peddie's headmaster, F. Edward Potter Jr., told reporters the payments will be made in $1-million installments over the next 12 years. The 75-year-old Mr. Annenberg, who graduated from the coeducational college-preparatory school in 1927, did not attend the news conference.

In a prepared statement, the publisher of T.V. Guide and former ambassador to Great Britain said he was making the contribution because private schools play an important role in American education.

"The United States has always benefited from the existence of both independent and state-run schools," he said.

"Historically, the independent schools have added an important element of diversity and educational innovation, frequently leading the way for the public schools to follow."

Secretary Bell praised Mr. Annenberg, saying the donation showed that concern about the quality of the nation's schools is not confined to the public sector.

The largest single gift to a private school prior to Mr. Annenberg's is believed to have been $6.5 million, bequeathed in 1980 to Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., by Walter Scott Leeds, who made his fortune in steel production.

Vol. 03, Issue 10

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