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Donor Profile

Heller School graduate establishes bequest

Elinor Gollay with late husband Rex
Elinor Gollay with her late husband Rex.
Elinor Gollay MSW’71, PhD’77, has worn many different hats since graduating from the Heller School for Social Policy and Management: healthcare consultant, author, political official, wife, world traveler, small-business owner and volunteer. She recently added another role: philanthropist.

Gollay, who lives in Portland, Oregon, had been out of touch with the Heller School for years when a friend of hers, originally from Ethiopia, asked her if he should attend the Heller School. Gollay applied the critical thinking and research skills honed at the Heller School to help her rediscover the school. She visited the campus, sat in on classes and met with international students. “I’ve taken the time to get to know today’s students. I’ve tried to immerse myself as much as possible.”

Gollay also reconnected with the Heller School’s Marty Krauss, PhD’81, the John Stein Professor of Disability Research and a former interim dean of the school whom Gollay once worked with at a research firm. “I had many long conversations with her, colleague to colleague, friend to friend, about today’s Heller School.” What she learned convinced her not only that her friend should attend, but that she should begin donating to the school in a significant way.

“It’s really a question of my values. I know the difference education makes, and a school like the Heller School does everything in its power to make sure students without a lot of financial resources can attend,” says Gollay, who herself received a scholarship to attend the Heller School. “I was not automatically trusting. I’ve done my homework. I’m hoping other alums who may have had a mixed experience will come back and check it out for themselves.”

Gollay has established a scholarship at the school and recently decided to include the school in her will. Her gifts will help students if they face financial challenges that place their education at risk.

“I feel pretty strongly that investment in education is one of the most important things that I can do for the future, and since I don’t have children as a way to invest in the future, I wanted to come up with a different way,” Gollay says. “The Heller’s School mission is firmly embedded and mirrors my own values. I feel very strongly about those of us who have the wherewithal doing what we can to enable people who have less than we do succeed.”

Categories: Donor Profile, Giving
Date: March 29, 2018