Doctor leaves $7.2 million to local college

April 29, 2008 4:08:26 AM PDT
Muhlenberg College has announced a $7.2 million bequest, its largest gift ever from an individual.

The 160-year-old Allentown College is undertaking a $105 million capital campaign. At a weekend kickoff for the public phase, officials announced the gift from the estate of Dr. Richard Williams of Palmerton. The only larger gift to the college has been a $10 million challenge grant from Atlantic Philanthropies.

Williams was a 1939 Muhlenberg graduate who went on to then-Hahnemann University Medical School. Former nurse and longtime companion Geraldine Christman says the man Carbon County patients called Doc Williams described himself as a poor country doctor. But he socked away money in blue chip stocks and never sold them.

Christman says Williams liked saving more than spending. She says, "In the end, that's going to benefit a lot of kids."

Information from: The Morning Call,