Published November 23, 2020

By Scott Fogdall (Photography courtesy of Rutgers Athletics)

Graduating from Rutgers decades apart, two alumnus made pledges that are still transforming lives—in athletics and beyond.

Seventy-one years ago, Wall Street magnate Thomas Barr donated his fortune to help build Rutgers’ football program. Although he never played, Barr RC1913 managed the team as a student. A few decades later, David Bender, a high school teacher in Rahway, New Jersey, bequeathed $300,000 to benefit student-athletes. Bender RC1925, an inductee of the Rutgers Football Hall of Fame, excelled at tackle and center.

The gifts of these proud alumni are still transforming lives. Barr established a trust that each year generates about $500,000 in football scholarships, providing many students with a crucial educational opportunity. Established in 1980, the David T. Bender Trust was designed to be transferred to Rutgers once its original investment had grown to $4 million.

With the goals achieved, the funds have been donated to The Bells Must Ring, a campaign for Scarlet Knights athletic programs. The Bender endowed scholarship will support athletes competing in Olympic sports, from men’s lacrosse and soccer to women’s tennis, gymnastics, and field hockey.

“Mr. Bender cared passionately about Rutgers’ student-athletes and his generosity will benefit many generations to come,” says Pat Hobbs, director of intercollegiate athletics. “Likewise, Mr. Barr’s philanthropy was key to modernizing Rutgers football in the 1960s and ’70s—and is still helping high-achieving individuals find success on and off the field.”

Hobbs adds that this kind of philanthropy, combined with the additional investments being made possible through the support of so many, will have an increasingly positive effect.


This story originally appeared in Rutgers Magazine.

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