“I am committed to Thacher because I appreciate the growth that happens there, and I feel a duty to support the growers,” Owen Donahue writes about why he chooses to give.
Why should I give? This is a question that many of us ask ourselves when we receive a request for support. Why should I give to a place that was a part of my life two, or three, or four decades ago? Could it be because that place was the beginning for us—the beginning of a lifelong devotion to inquiry? For Owen Donahue, father of Dee CdeP 1993 and Rob CdeP 1995, this, along with a desire to foster that yearning in young people today and in the future, was the impetus for his creation of the Donahue-Thele Family Scholarship Fund. He writes about his devotion to education below.
I don’t think of myself as a philanthropist. I do think of myself as one who is passionately committed to education and to the intellectual, philosophical, cultural and spiritual growth that is its fruit. For me, and for my family, education is a value in itself. Its purpose isn’t to help us make money later. Its purpose is to nourish our minds with great ideas. Its purpose is to broaden our understanding of our universe and our place in the universe. Education is a life-long process of learning, thinking, studying, listening, contemplating, debating. Education has no end, but it has a beginning. It begins with great parents, great teachers, great schools and wholesome environments where minds are free to roam at will and engage in the pursuit of truth for its own sake.
Education is not just about understanding and evaluating abstract ideas. It’s also about cultivating an appreciation for the natural world, the birds and the beasts who populate our planet. It’s about standing in awe of mountains and forests and remote lakes and the silent trails that lead to them.
But it’s about even more than that. It’s about deciding who I am and what kind of person I want to become. The decision of who I want to become isn’t made in a void. It’s made by looking at all of the people in my life and modeling myself after the ones I most admire, the ones who represent my best idea of the person I want to become.
So I am committed to Thacher, not because I’m a philanthropist, but because I am a student and a teacher, a father and a grandfather. I am committed to Thacher because I appreciate the growth that happens there, and I feel a duty to support the growers.
About the Donahue-Thele Family Scholarship
Established in 2019 with a gift from Cathy and Owen Donahue, Dee CdeP 1993 and John Thele, and Robert CdeP 1995 and Jessica Donahue, income from the fund supports Thacher's financial aid program. For information on contributing to the fund, contact the Alumni and Development office 805-646-4377 x 224.