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McCartney ’74 Gives $3.6 Million to Scholarships for Chicago Students; Personal Campaign Commitment Totals $10 Million

John McCartney '74
John McCartney '74

John McCartney '74, co-chair of Davidson College's recently launched Game Changers: Inspiring Leaders to Transform the World campaign and founder of the Charles Scholarship Program, has made an additional $3.6 million gift to expand his support of the program. This comprehensive scholarship program recognizes outstanding, multicultural students from Chicago Public Schools and is offered to at least two students in each entering class. The scholarship, which has supported 27 students to date, provides funding for tuition, fees, room and board, books, travel, personal expenses and special study opportunities.

The Charles Scholarship was created to honor McCartney's father and father-in-law, Charles G. McCartney and Charles A. Muñana. Both men were first-generation immigrants and scholar athletes. Each was the first in his family to attend college. Following military service, both built successful careers. John McCartney says the importance of college and its role in social mobility were key parts of his upbringing.

"For a long time, Davidson was able to attract students from excellent, suburban high schools and elite private schools in the Chicago area, but could not recruit within the Chicago Public Schools System," he said. "This scholarship provides a great opportunity for those exceptional students to attend Davidson, and it also creates the opportunity for Davidson to benefit from having inner-city kids on campus who have succeeded in challenging environments. It's a tremendous gain for all involved."

The scholarship also aims to recruit students who have demonstrated an extensive amount of community service in their own neighborhoods and have displayed interest to return to Chicago and serve following graduation. Candidates also should possess academic achievement in a rigorous curriculum, proven leadership ability and a record of participation in a variety of service, arts or athletics activities.

"Being a first-generation college student with a family that didn't comprehend the importance of going away to school came with its challenges," said Claudia Ramirez '11. "As a recent graduate, I am able to appreciate the rigorous and magnificent education provided at Davidson, an opportunity that would not have been possible without the Charles Scholarship. As a result, I not only have an education, but I am also an example among the Latino community."

McCartney's $3.6 million gift brings his total campaign giving to $10 million.

"Davidson has, far and away, been my number one philanthropic effort," he said. "I'm proud of the support I've been able to give to the college in the past; I'm delighted to be able to make this new commitment; and I am hopeful that before the end of the campaign, I will be able to make an additional gift."

The special announcement was made by McCartney's co-chair, Alison Hall Mauzé '84, as part of today's Davidson College Board of Trustees meeting. Mauzé added that this generous gift brings the campaign fundraising total to more than $240 million, up from $212 million at the time of the November 2014 public launch.

"John's generous commitment to educational excellence and access is an inspiration to all of us at Davidson," said Davidson College President Carol Quillen. "The expansion of the Charles Scholarship Program will enable Davidson to continue to enroll and graduate bright and talented students from the Chicago area who will live out our core mission of leadership and service. Thank you to John for his leadership in continuing to transform the lives of so many students."

The Game Changers campaign aims to raise $425 million for institutional priorities. Goals of the campaign include the following:

  • Keeping Davidson's commitment to educational excellence and access strong by investing in scholarships
  • Strengthening the resources and environment that enable Davidson students and faculty to produce original work
  • Expanding the college's success in athletics
  • Helping students gain the skills they need to move from campus to meaningful roles in the world

"We're not just asking for resources through this campaign," said McCartney. "We're asking for resources in the context of redesigning a liberal arts education in terms of content, pedagogy, methodologies and delivery. We are ideally suited to establish a preeminent leadership role among our peers as we reaffirm the value of the liberal arts."

The campaign committee is led by Quillen, Honorary Chair Ted Baker '57, Co-Chairs Mauzé and McCartney and Board of Trustees Chair John Chidsey '83. Learn more at www.davidson.edu/gamechangers.