Colleges: Wealthier & Wiser

Though a college thrives on scholarship, it survives on charity. Happily announcing the biggest gifts in their history last week, two of the top schools in the U.S. looked confidently forward to converting the cash into academic achievement.

Smith College, largest of the elite Seven Sisters,* received $3,000,000 for a new science center from New Yorker W. Van Alan Clark, honorary board chairman of Avon Products, and his wife, Smith Alumna Edna McConnell Clark, whose father started the door-to-door-sales cosmetics company. Smith was founded in 1871 on the theory that women deserved—and...