Our History

At the very beginning, there was a herd.

With his donation of 400 Black Angus cattle from the internationally famous Wye Plantation Herd, Arthur A. Houghton Jr., former president of Steuben Glass and great-grandson of Corning Glass Works founder, Armory Houghton, became the first benefactor of the University System of Maryland Foundation.

Then named the University of Maryland Foundation, this private, nonprofit foundation was created in 1979 to accept and hold Mr. Houghton's gift for use by the University, and remains the legal owner of the herd today.

Twelve business leaders from across Maryland held the first University of Maryland Foundation Board of Directors Meeting. At its inception, there were five campuses of the University of Maryland to serve:

  • College Park
  • Baltimore
  • Baltimore County
  • Eastern Shore
  • University College

More than three decades later, the University System of Maryland has grown its ranks to include another seven institutions, and two regional higher education centers. In 2004, the University of Maryland Foundation is renamed the University System of Maryland Foundation to reflect the wide range of institutions it serves. Visit Who We Serve to see all of our institutions and the role the USM Foundation plays.

Learn more about Our Leadership and view our timeline to see how the USM Foundation has grown from our original gift of 400 cattle to one that has exceeded more than $1 billion in assets under management.

Our Vision

Our vision is to attract broad resources that transform the USM and its institutions, create a network of advocates to embrace the USM’s role as an educator and economic engine, and to grow a long-term, sustainable culture of philanthropy across the University System of Maryland.

Learn More About USMF