During the height of the COVID pandemic, many families longed to connect with each other. The McDonald family was no different. They spent more than a year apart, and it was the long-awaited family milestone celebration that brought the family back together again in December 2021 in Venice, Florida.
Ed McDonald ’78, former president of the TU Alumni Association and current member of the University System of Maryland Board of Regents says, “We got together at my brother Jim’s house with my siblings and their spouses. Before we arrived, I pitched an idea for our family to support TU.” Ed intended to donate to the university’s RISE Campaign and he hoped his siblings would consider it as well. “I talked about how important private support is because the state money is never enough.”
After much thought, and although the focus of their joint support wasn’t yet clear, Ed’s oldest brother Jim ‘74 committed his support. “My younger brother Tom ‘82 was next on board. He emailed me with a commitment. Then my sister Eileen ’85, ‘92 jumped in, and finally my nephew Shawn ‘09,” says Ed. Together the family came together and committed cash and pledges totaling $54,000. But they still needed to determine how the money would be used. “We kept talking and decided that our mom, who is 96 years old and the mother of four TU grads and grandmother to a fifth, would be an excellent choice to honor with our gifts. After a family poll, we determined that naming a scholarship for her would be very fitting,” says Ed.
The family presented the scholarship certificate to their mom on Mother’s Day 2022. “We had to explain it to her. As we did, her eyes got bigger and bigger,” recalls Ed.
The Theresa M. McDonald Endowed Scholarship will be awarded for the first time in the 2022-23 academic year to a deserving student with financial need and will be renewable for up to four consecutive academic years.
Photo: Left to right, Ed McDonald ’78, Theresa (their mother), Jim McDonald ‘74 and Eileen McDonald ‘85, ‘92. Missing from the photo are brother Tom McDonald ‘82 and Theresa’s grandson Shawn McDonald ‘09.