Benjamin Wofford's Legacy

Photo of Benjamin Wofford

In the last years of his life, Benjamin Wofford’s thoughts turned toward his legacy.

He told one nephew that “It is growing on my hands. Here is nearly $150,000. Every year it is augmented. I must leave it behind me, so [as] to do some good. What shall I do with it?” Some sources indicate that he was planning to disperse his assets widely among a number of church-related charities. But, a visit from a good friend, the Rev. Hugh Andrew Crawford Walker, probably in the summer of 1849, helped settle Ben’s thinking.

Walker advised him that spreading his resources out widely would have comparatively little effect. The gifts, Walker believed, would not last. “Why not found a college- spreading widely- increasing in power and goodness through the ages as they come,” the minister asked. After persuading Benjamin Wofford that the conference did indeed want to start a college for Methodists in the state, Walker took his leave, with the promise to write down a summary of their conversation and send it to Wofford.

Though Walker and Wofford never spoke on the subject again, the rest is history. A few months later, on February 1, 1850, Benjamin Wofford signed a will that left $100,000 to found a college-- $50,000 to be placed in an endowment for the college, and an equal amount set aside to purchase land and erect Main Building. Benjamin Wofford passed away that December. Just a few years later, in the fall of 1854, Ben's college-- our dear old Wofford-- opened its doors. 

Few people have the opportunity to leave the kind of legacy that Benjamin Wofford did, but more than 160 years after his death, Wofford alumni and friends have the opportunity to follow his example and make a lasting impact on the Wofford community.  

Questions? Contact  Lisa De Freitas, Director of Gift Planning, at or 864-597-4203 to learn more about opportunities to establish your Wofford legacy.