The grant is the single largest in the foundation's history and the largest ever received by Hamilton from a charitable foundation.
Foundation President Julie Kidd said the grant was "awarded in recognition of the very fine and dedicated efforts that continue to characterize the work of Hamilton College in fulfilling its deeply felt commitment to undergraduate education."
"Over the years, the Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation has been a leading supporter of Hamilton and its programs," said College President Eugene M. Tobin. "This gift is remarkable, not just for its size, but for the transformative impact it will have on the educational program. We are truly grateful to the foundation for once again demonstrating its confidence in Hamilton and its faculty."
Specifically, the foundation's gift will establish two endowed chairs, one for a full professor and one for a visiting professorship.
The grant carries with it a two-to-one challenge to Hamilton, meaning the college must raise $5 million in new endowment for faculty support in order to receive the foundation's full $2.5 million.
"Hamilton's alumni and friends will welcome this considerable challenge, and I know we will be successful in achieving it," Tobin said.
The Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation's grant will be credited toward the college's current capital campaign -- a four-year effort to raise $83 million. To date, the college has received gifts and commitments totaling $57 million toward the campaign's $83 million goal.
Among those earlier gifts and commitments is a $2 million grant announced in February from The Brown Foundation, Inc., Houston, to improve science facilities. At the time, that grant was a record gift to Hamilton from a charitable foundation.
The Christian A. Johnson Endeavor Foundation has been a consistent supporter of Hamilton and its faculty. Over the years, the foundation has established the Christian A. Johnson "Excellence in Teaching" Professorship, the Christian A. Johnson "Excellence in Teaching" Conference Fund, and the Christian A. Johnson Teaching Enhancement Fellowship.
Following its renovation in 1982, the former college library was renamed Christian A. Johnson Hall to recognize the foundation's generosity.
Hamilton was originally a frontier school for native Oneida Indians and the children of early settlers; later it was an all-male college. Hamilton today is a private, nonsectarian liberal arts college enrolling approximately 1,650 men and women from around the country and the world.