Carnegie Bolsters Scottish Universities

  • Overseas
  • 1901

Andrew Carnegie, one of the fathers of modern philanthropy, was born in Scotland. When industrialization crippled his father’s handloom business, the Carnegie family emigrated to America in search of a better future. Andrew emphatically found that future, starting in a mill job at age 13 and controlling 20 percent of U.S. iron and steel production by the time he was in his 50s.

When Carnegie devoted himself entirely to philanthropy after retiring in 1901, he made provisions for the people and communities of Scotland as well as for Americans. Among other actions, he created the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland with an unprecedented gift of $10 million. The Scottish universities of Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and St. Andrews were to use funds from the trust to expand their scientific research capabilities, and build libraries, academic facilities, and residences.

Carnegie later created additional trusts in the United Kingdom to underwrite worthy projects in education and culture. These still rank among the largest grant-giving organizations in that country. And Carnegie’s legendary library-building program extended beyond U.S. borders to the British Isles—where he funded the construction of 660 public libraries.

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