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Scholarship Aids L&C Grad Students

  • Chris and Mardra Jay with Moises Rios, a graduate student in professional mental health counseling and the current recipient of the couple’s Opportunity Scholarship.
    Nina Johnson

Trustee Gift

Looking back in gratitude prompts Trustee Chris Jay BS ’72 to look forward to what today’s graduate school students will accomplish as teachers, counselors, and leaders in education. It also motivates him and his wife, Mardra, to support their progress.

Most recently, that impulse found expression as a $700,000 planned gift in the form of charitable gift annuities and a bequest. The gift is designated for the Christopher E. and Mardra Jay Opportunity Scholarship, a fund that the Jays endowed in 2011 for graduate school students from disadvantaged backgrounds and/or from underrepresented populations.

“I had the support of scholarships when I went to L&C more than 45 years ago,” says Jay, who joined the Board of Trustees in 1988 and is now its longest-serving member. “That financial assistance was a tremendous help when I pursued my own ambitions, and I want to do likewise for those going to school now and in the future.” Currently, more than 70 percent of the graduate school’s 730 students rely on financial aid.

Scott Fletcher, dean of the Graduate School of Education and Counseling, says, “Chris and Mardra’s recent gift is an extraordinary statement of their commitment to supporting graduate students who will make a transformative impact on the communities and professions they serve. Like our students, Chris and Mardra are helping to change the world. I am deeply grateful for their friendship.”

Because increasing scholarship funds is a top priority of Lewis & Clark’s strategic plan, “Exploring for the Global Good,” Jay also says, “I would remind others that their journey was likely helped by others. It is time for those who can to do the same for this generation and generations to come.”

A leader in the financial services industry for more than 40 years, Chris Jay has been recognized as one of the nation’s Top 1,000 Financial Advisors by Barron’s Magazine. He received Lewis & Clark’s Donald G. Balmer Citation in 1996 for outstanding voluntary service and was instrumental in developing and completing York: Terra Incognita, the college’s permanent memorial to a key member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition long neglected by history. The work by nationally recognized sculptor Alison Saar was dedicated May 8, 2010.

The Chronicle Magazine

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