A Passion for Helping Young People
Richard “Dick” Ridgway ’54
Dick Ridgway believed in giving needy young people the opportunity of a Catholic school education. Dick's father had died when he was twelve years old and only because of a stranger's kindness (he'd always suspected that it was the Jesuits at Gonzaga) he was able to attend Gonzaga, where he spent four memorable years. During those formative years on Eye Street, he received the highest quality Jesuit education, was a member of the 1954 Championship Basketball Team and forged relationships that would become friendships for life. With his family still struggling financially, Dick thought that a college education would not be possible for him. But once again, in stepped the kindly stranger who somehow made it possible for Dick to attend Mount St. Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Maryland. By sophomore year, Dick was working several jobs and able to make his own way. After earning his degree, he would go on to become a successful real estate settlement attorney.
Throughout his life Dick never forgot that it was a stranger's kindness that helped him on his life's path. That kindness inspired within him a passion for helping young people to overcome family financial hardships that would otherwise hold them back. A champion for Catholic education, an enthusiastic organizer and fundraiser, Dick's efforts enabled many, many young people to attend the area's best Catholic schools, including Gonzaga. In addition to all his fundraising efforts and his own personal generosity, Dick along the way bought a life insurance policy that named as beneficiaries several worthy Catholic institutions, including Gonzaga. Thanks to Dick, there exists today at Gonzaga a fund for boys from families experiencing extreme financial hardship. It all began with a stranger's kindness.
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