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Brunswick-area college scholarship fund receives $2M gift

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Brunswick-area college scholarship fund receives $2M gift

BRUNSWICK — It apparently only took one meeting to convince George Senter, a former educator who attended local schools as a child, to donate $2 million of his estate to the Brunswick Area Student Aid Fund.

John Loyd Jr., chairman of the endowment, said he realized this when he received a call from Senter's estate about a month ago and was informed BASAF was about to receive "quite a large gift."

Loyd said he only met Senter once, four or five years ago to discuss the fund, but no commitments were made at the time.

"(It's) pretty exciting because (Senter's bequest) represents an increase of our endowment by 130 percent," Loyd said Wednesday. He said the existing endowment was valued in late November at about $1.6 million.

Senter's bequest, received last week, creates the George Dyer Senter Fund, Loyd said, and will help fill the widening gap created by the increasing cost of post-secondary education.

"The costs have gone up so rapidly, the value of the endowment has gone down," Loyd said.

Before Senter died on July 21, 2011, according to a statement from BASAF, he told a BASAF director that he wanted to create "long-lasting and meaningful support for local students through a bequest to BASAF."

BASAF was formed in 1956, Loyd said, and it has awarded scholarships, ranging from $800-$1,200, to about 170 high school students a year in Brunswick, Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Harpswell and Topsham. He said students can use the scholarships for any two years of their post-secondary career, including community colleges and graduate schools.

Loyd said the BASAF application process is blind and need-based. To qualify, students must submit a copy of their Free Application for Federal Student Aid form to the guidance office of Brunswick High School or Mt. Ararat High School in Topsham by March 15.

According to an obituary published by last year, Senter was a World War II veteran and served as an educator for 31 years at The Hill School in Pottstown, Penn. He then retired to Brunswick, where he served on the Steering Committee of the Association of Bowdoin Friends.

The Hill School later dedicated a dormitory in his name in 2005.

Dylan Martin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or dmartin@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DylanLJMartin.