Marine Whose Heart Never Left Eye Street Establishes a Legacy Through His Will

John B. McDonald

John B. McDonald

Like many of his generation, John McDonald left high school early to serve his country during World War II. He enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps and served proudly from 1945–1946. But when the war ended, "Mac," as he was called by his friends, unlike so many other young returning soldiers who took advantage of the new general education degree program, chose to return to high school. During all the time he served Uncle Sam, his heart had never left Eye Street. He was coming back to get that degree from Gonzaga as a graduate of the Class of 1947.

John would go on to teach at Benjamin Franklin University in the District and then work for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters before ending his career working with the Department of Health and Human Services. John and his wife, Elizabeth, were married for 69 years. They had five children, nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

In 2011, John contacted Gonzaga, asking what it would take to establish a scholarship fund. It was important to him that only the interest earned from his gift be used to support deserving students while the corpus of the fund remain invested. It was around that same time that John and Elizabeth quietly established a revocable living trust naming Gonzaga as the beneficiary of a permanently endowed scholarship fund. When John passed away in April 2018, the trust established the John B. and Elizabeth P. McDonald Endowed Scholarship. The scholarship description reads as follows:

This permanently endowed scholarship fund serves to perpetuate the memory of John B. McDonald, Class of 1947, and his wife of 69 years, Elizabeth P. McDonald, by providing need-based tuition assistance for students who otherwise would be unable to afford a Gonzaga education. As a student, John interrupted his education to enlist in the U.S. Marines to support his country during WWII. At the end of the war, he returned to Eye Street to earn the diploma he would cherish throughout his life.

More than 70 years ago, a young soldier demonstrated an enduring devotion by returning to Gonzaga after the war. The legacy of that devotion will now provide the opportunity of a Gonzaga education to deserving students for generations to come. Gonzaga is forever grateful to John and Elizabeth McDonald.

Scholarships can make a lasting difference for Gonzaga students. Learn more about creating or funding one by contacting Daniel P. Costello ’72 at (202) 336-7174 or dcostell@gonzaga.org.

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