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Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University

Keeping the Bargain

William Donald Bain Jr. '49L

from The Bridge: Spring/Summer 2011 issue

Back when he was a law student, Don Bain, of Spartanburg, S.C., made a pact with his then wife-to-be, Pat Thomas, who was a student at Hollins. "One day, when we were driving back to Spartanburg together, we decided that if we had the ability to be generous to Hollins and Washington and Lee, we would do so," Bain recalls.

When Pat Thomas Bain was suffering from a terminal illness 20-some years ago, she made a seven-figure bequest to Hollins. Her husband suggested that instead, she have fun and donate it while she could still see the results. "It was very emotional," says Bain. "Pat was dying when her gift was announced. It was a real love fest.

"Pat kept her part of the agreement," continues Bain, who is retired from an executive career in the chemical industry. "Now it's my turn to keep my side of the bargain my wife and I formed in the '50s." And so last year, he committed $1.25 million to the Lenfest Challenge in order to establish the William Donald Bain Family Professorship in Corporate Law. Bain never practiced law, but he was involved in a number of corporate mergers and acquisitions. "Corporate law is really my field, so I am very happy to be able to support it with this professorship."