This month is the 100th anniversary of the Daly scholarship. It was a hundred years ago in June of 1922, when the Daly Fund trustees met in Lakeview to select the first scholarship recipients. It was a big deal then and it still is.
It’s hard to overstate the uniqueness of the Daly scholarship. Daly’s vision that not less than fifteen students would have all their expenses provided for four years of college was unusual. There was no scholarship like that in Oregon or perhaps the entire country.
This year is the 100-year anniversary of the first awarding of the Bernard Daly scholarship. I learned about the scholarship in the early 1980s from my OSU colleague Dan Dunham, who grew up in Lakeview and received the scholarship in 1954. The story of Bernard Daly and his scholarship stuck with me and many years later at an OSU alumni gathering I attended while serving as dean of OSU’s College of Education, I met Sue (Ogle) Densmore. When Sue mentioned that she was from Lakeview, I asked about the scholarship and learned that Sue and both of her sisters had been recipients, and so were their parents, Jim and Dorothy Ogle. At the time, I was planning to step down as dean and return to a faculty position before retiring, and I was looking for a research project I could start and possibly work on in retirement. When Sue suggested I go to the annual breakfast her parents hosted at their ranch on Labor Day weekend, I jumped at the opportunity.
For the first time in a couple of years, our family will come together this next week to celebrate the holidays. We do so with a renewed sense of the preciousness of time together, and also the nearness of tragedy. It’s especially jarring when tragedy occurs in the midst of celebration as it did on Christmas Eve in 1894 when a terrible fire occurred in the community hall on the second floor of the Chrisman general store in Silver Lake. Though it is the deadliest fire to have occurred in Oregon history, until this month it has not been included in the Oregon Encyclopedia, an authoritative and free resource on all things Oregon.
Several years ago, I added an entry on Bernard Daly, and now one on the Silver Lake Fire. Take a look at the entries and while you’re there, check out some of the other entries related to Lake County – Abert Rim, Lakeview, Reub Long, and Paisley Caves. I’m hoping others will be added in the years to come.
My best wishes to all for happy holidays and the new year, the 100-year anniversary of the first awarding of the Bernard Daly scholarship.
Note: Many thanks to Larry Landis, former OSU director of Special Collections and Archives who first encouraged me to write an entry on Bernard Daly for the Oregon Encyclopedia.
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.