Bernard Daly’s will is best remembered for the bequest that created the Daly scholarship. Although not as large, there were other bequests, including one that provided an annuity of $1,200 each year for ten years for the …“… expenses of sick, maimed, or injured patients, residents of Lake County, Oregon, who may be brought to its hospital, and who are unable to bear such expenses; it being my will and desire that they receive the same careful nursing, medical and surgical attention, and the full benefits of such hospital, as other patients in so far as this bequest may allow.”
About the time the support provided by Daly’s bequest ended, the Daly scholarship began to have even greater impact on the Lakeview hospital. Daly scholarship recipients, Connie and Joycelin Robertson, and their younger brother, Louis, all became doctors and returned to Lakeview to practice at the hospital. Over the years, many other Daly recipients have returned to work at the hospital, including Abby (Tracy) Finetti, a 2000 Lakeview High graduate and Daly recipient who began working as an emergency nurse at the Lake District Hospital in 2007.
In 2010, on my first trip to Lakeview, I made a visit to the school district office, the small gray building with a big sign that reads, “School District No. 7.” On the sign, there is no indication of the of the district name other than the number 7. It’s an anachronism (from the Greek “ana” and “khronos”) meaning against time – something that made more sense the past than in the current time.
Though he was often in the minority, a great many of the positions that Daly held a hundred years ago have proven to be on the right side of history. Consider his position on education. Simply put, Daly believed that education, all the way through college, should be available to everyone.
I’ve been researching the life of Bernard Daly and the impact of the scholarship he created a century ago. It’s an incredible story and Daly was an impressive man. By almost all accounts, Bernard Daly was remarkably successful, prosperous, and generous. I say almost all accounts because Daly did have his critics. I shouldn’t be surprised as Daly was in the public eye for almost all of his adult life, and his wealth and his frugal nature attracted much attention. In the spirit of full disclosure, I thought I’d devote this post to his critics.
Skin in the game. An expression that was being used so often that William Safire devoted a 2006 New York Times “On Language” column to “fleshing” out its meaning and origins. He begins with the questions of exactly whose skin is it and what’s the game.
“The skin in this case is a synecdoche for the self, much as “head” stands for cattle and “sail” for ships. The game is the investment, commitment or gamble being undertaken.”
A college education is a gamble, the returns of which are far from certain. It’s a gamble undertaken by many – not only the prospective college student but also those who financially contribute to the undertaking, and the communities that might benefit from it.
Almost a century after the Daly Scholarship was first awarded, other place-based scholarships are being established all around the country. The first and most well-known of these modern-day programs, the Kalamazoo Promise, was funded by anonymous donors in 2005 for graduates of Kalamazoo high schools. Since then, hundreds programs have been created, all offering the promise of funding for college.
As the election draws closer, I find myself immersed in the politics of the past when Daly was elected state representative, state senator and then a candidate for the U.S. Congress. Daly’s election to the Oregon Legislature in 1892 representing Lake, Crook (including what are now Deshutes and Jefferson counties), and Klamath counties is an indication of how well known he had become since arriving in Oregon just five years earlier. Daly, a lifelong Democrat, won the election with what was described as a “most flattering majority.” Another sign of Daly’s growing political stature was his appointment to the Oregon Agricultural College (now OSU) Board of Regents in 1893. He was appointed by Governor Pennoyer, one of two Populist governors in U.S. history.
While in Lakeview last month I went to the Lake County Courthouse to look through the county records from the early 1900s when Bernard Daly was county judge. There’s a lot to look at. It was time when counties had considerable power, Oregon’s state government was still relatively new and weak, roads and communication were poor, and Lake County was far from Salem.
In those days, the county judge, Bernard Daly, acted like a governor and the commissioners like a legislature for a county that was larger than several states. Among other things, the judge and commissioners established tax rates; built and maintained roads and bridges, appointed county officials, managed elections, and even granted U.S. citizenship.
I’ve just returned from a bike trip to Reno where I visited my younger son and his fiancé. About 600 miles in 10 days of riding. The first part of the trip followed the same route I took when I biked across the country in 2016 – wonderful memories. Up the McKenzie Pass into central Oregon, then on the Oregon Outback Scenic Byway to Lakeview.
A few weeks ago, the Daly Fund trustees met and selected 22 Daly scholarship recipients. To assure fairness and likelihood of college success, the trustees used a process whereby students were selected based on a weighted formula that combined SAT scores and overall high school grade point averages. The trustees only saw the ranked composite scores; they did not know the names of the recipients until they determined how far down the list they could fund scholarships.