No. 105 | People

H. Beale Rollins (1915)

A scholarship student, Rollins had a monumental impact on the school, serving on the Board of Trustees for 27 years and making significant philanthropic contributions.

H. Beale Rollins was a scholarship student who enrolled at McDonogh in 1909 at the age of 10 after his father’s death. He played in the first football game against Gilman School, and he graduated as class valedictorian in 1915. After attending the University of Maryland Law School and serving in the Army, in 1925, Rollins founded a law firm that represented trucking and bus companies. Two decades later, he founded Johnson Motor Lines, a trucking company that at one time had 35 terminals between New Orleans and Boston. According to a 2004 Baltimore Sun article, Rollins attributed his success as a lawyer and trucking magnate to the life lessons he learned in the brick halls of McDonogh School.

During his lifetime, Rollins made significant philanthropic contributions to his alma mater. As early as 1921, before McDonogh had its first official “pay students,” Rollins covered the cost of tuition for a handful of students. Over the years, his generosity and focus on scholarship continued with gifts of stock holdings and cash. In 1950, he suggested the School establish the Alumni Endowment Fund for scholarship with an annual goal of $50,000. 

The generosity of Rollins and his wife, Mary, extended beyond scholarship as they provided funds to build the carillon in Tagart Memorial Chapel (see story No. 88 ) as well as the Rollins dormitory court. He served on the Board of Trustees for more than 27 years, beginning in 1958. In 1961, he and his banker, former state treasurer John A. Luetkemeyer, established the Rollins-Luetkemeyer Foundation to support education and the arts. The Foundation played a pivotal role in McDonogh’s growth and success. In 1967, Rollins was chosen as the first Fellow of the John McDonogh Foundation (now McDonogh’s Circle of Philanthropy), reflecting his status as the largest benefactor in the School’s first one hundred years as well as his many contributions to the McDonogh community. 

In 2001, the  Rollins-Luetkemeyer Foundation gave $8 million to help subsidize the tuition of the children of faculty and staff, and in 2004, the School received a $20 million matching gift which among other things was used to provide scholarships to students with need. Other contributions from the Foundation resulted in the construction of the Rollins-Luetkemeyer Athletic Center, the  Clarence A. Burck Center for the Arts, and a leadership training program for seniors.

Rollins and his wife, who had no children of their own, regularly attended Christmas boarder dinners, plays, Commencements, Founder’s Days, football games, and other campus events. In 1969, he built a house on McDonogh’s campus where he lived for 16 years until his death in 1985.

Learn more about McDonogh School's rich history by visiting the archives online.

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