By Callie Ewing, BA ’03 MH ’22
When Mikail McIntosh-Doty, BA ’81, and John Donnelly, BA ’81, learned about the success of the Class of 1985 Endowed Scholarship, they were immediately inspired to help motivate their own classmates to do something similar, and thought the occasion of their 40th reunion was the perfect time to do so. McIntosh-Doty reached out to her one-time Catherine Hall neighbor, Susan Frear, BA ’81, who responded with a resounding, “Of course!” Their goal was straightforward: They would establish their own Class of 1981 Endowed Scholarship.
“In the grand scheme of things, what you’re giving is a one-time chunk of change, but when you think about what you spend at Starbucks, etc., it’s not that big of an ask,” said Frear. “You can make a difference in someone’s life, and you have the opportunity to leave a legacy, which is not something we often have the chance to do in our lives.”
Donnelly added, “The burden these families face, with inflation, the pandemic and everything else, can be so great, and so many of us are in a position now to help out. The culture at UD is one of serving others. Also, it really appeals to me that this will be a legacy for our particular class. We can tell other classes about this opportunity to create their own legacies, too, and support current and future leaders coming down the pike.”
McIntosh-Doty noted that they and their classmates, along with other classes from their era, had the advantage of completing their college degrees when the cost of higher education was much less than it is now.
“And we benefited from that education so much,” she said. “Now we can come back and benefit future generations.”
She herself had made recent gifts to the Cowan-Blakley Memorial Library but not to other parts of the university prior to this scholarship, and applauds the university’s Advancement Office for noting these gifts and reaching out to see if she thought her class might band together in the same way as the Class of 1985.
The impact of their giving was made manifest during Alumni and Family Weekend, when the class came together to celebrate their 40th reunion and had the opportunity to meet the inaugural scholarship recipient. The student, a current junior English major, was honored to meet his benefactors in person and expressed his gratitude for their generosity and support.
“I'm looking forward to continuing Jpo [Junior Poet] and learning more about poetry,” he told them. “I can't give enough thanks for such generous help, and I'm honored to be chosen to receive this scholarship.”
Another member of the Class of 1981, Carolyn (Bryant) Lyde, BA '81, joined with her erstwhile classmates in making a gift: "I appreciate Mikail and John reaching out to me about the scholarship fund," said Lyde. "I was reminded to be grateful for the excellent education I received from the University of Dallas. Most importantly, my peers at UD inspired and formed my idea of what kind of person I wanted to be. I am forever grateful."
McIntosh-Doty, Donnelly and Frear all feel that their UD education has influenced their lives, from Rome to their faith and the relationships they formed.
“Rome lets you know there’s a bigger world out there full of fascinating things,” said McIntosh-Doty, and Frear added, “Rome lets you experience being the other in a foreign country.” They feel that these components of UD’s curriculum are essential to forming good citizens of today’s global society, as well as faithful people who can yet take on their faith in a circumspect, thoughtful way: “We were able to see the diversity of thought within the Catholic Church — there’s a sense of disagreement, but it’s like the disagreements in a family,” said McIntosh-Doty. “There was a sense of play, gray areas we had to engage and wrestle with, and an enthusiasm for that wrestling: Let’s get in there and see what people think and if taking a different perspective really matters.
“It was the place where Catholics of independent thought could meet and talk about things,” she added, “and I still feel that’s happening; there’s a sense of something that began in 1950s, which I was a part of in the 1970s and early ’80s, and is still happening and expanding — with the Art Village, the business school, the integration into life. Especially in a world coming out of a pandemic, there is a need for connectedness to the heritage we received from the Church and to be able to stand in that and use it as a perspective on the world. It has been amazing to me that courses I took at UD years ago are still foundational to me when I teach and engage with faculty.”
For Frear, as an Episcopalian, UD challenged her religious thinking and faith in a positive way: “It makes my experience unique,” she said. “It’s the relationships you build, the sense of community, and it goes past generations — it’s so powerful, that sense of community. It’s also an environment where learning is not just required, it’s encouraged — you’re going to have to actively participate, which is not always the case at other colleges. It makes you a better employee, citizen and friend, and enriches you in all sorts of ways.”
Donnelly said, “UD’s education is content, but it’s also process — how to go and find the right answer, consult the right person. It helped me with my personal ego, so that I make sure I’m serving the people I really need to, and developed my emotional intelligence. UD embedded in me the need to always go back to the people: I’m a relational kind of fella. My best friends are still from UD, and while I haven’t seen Susan since graduation, it feels very comfortable to talk to her now. UD fosters that sense of community, and it’s a joy and privilege to be part of that.
“Another gift UD has given me, which it took me a while to realize, was that so many graduates go into professional careers where they are serving other folks,” he added. “There’s a generosity of heart that UD inspires in its students and alumni. I get joy from service now, and I have an overwhelming sense of gratitude. It’s given a greater sense of meaning to my life.”
Contribute to the Class of 1981 Endowed Scholarship here. To learn more about how you can pay forward the value of your UD education to the next generation of alumni through scholarship support, please contact Veronica Moreno, Associate Director for Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 972-265-5846.