A Duxbury couple have donated 25 acres of property in Plymouth — valued at $8 million — to Bridgewater State University, as they and school officials tout the importance of private philanthropy to public institutions.
Bruce R. and Patricia A. (Quinn) Bartlett, graduates of Bridgewater who met there in the 1960s, gave the property consisting of two office buildings and a warehouse at 54 and 60 Industrial Park Road. The complex at one time served as the headquarters of Bartlett Nuclear and later BHI Energy, which provides safety and protection services to the nuclear industry.
The Bartletts’ gift is the largest ever received by Bridgewater State.
“Public education is what made the United States great,” the couple said in joint statement. “Higher education opens doors and provides opportunities, and we want those doors open at all times.”
In a phone interview from San Diego, where the couple also spend time, Bruce Bartlett said they have also given to the University of Arizona, where their son attended, as well as Bentley University, where he himself also attended.
Bridgewater State president Frederick Clark Jr. said the Bartletts placed no restrictions on the donation, and no decision has been made on whether to keep or sell the property, which includes Williamsburg-style brick buildings designed by Patricia Bartlett. He said that will be looked at over the next three to six months.
Clark said students in the past could receive sufficient state and federal financial aid to afford attending public universities. But that has become increasingly difficult without the help of people like the Bartletts, who have given a total of more than $13 million to their alma mater over the past decade, he said. The College of Science and Mathematics at Bridgewater is named after the couple, and much of their generosity goes to pay for scholarships.
Both Bartletts were teachers for a portion of their careers. Bruce taught math and worked as a certified public accountant before founding Bartlett Nuclear, as well as manufacturing and construction companies.
Bartlett said he sold Bartlett Nuclear in 2004 but retained the property and buildings, and the new owners moved the headquarters in 2016 to Weymouth.
The company was rebranded BHI Energy in 2010, and was acquired in 2017 by AE Industrial Partners LLC.
Patricia taught physical education in Quincy and in the classroom in Scituate for 10 years, and retired from teaching to help with the family companies. The couple launched the Bartlett Foundation, which funds medical research at hospitals and universities across the country, in 2004. They gave Bridgewater State $2 million in 2011 and $3 million in 2014.Jean Lang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.