The Impact of One ...
Education graduate helps educate others through scholarship
Geraldine (Gerry) O’Grady-Pershing and her husband Ralph established the Matt F. and Mary L. O’Grady Endowed Scholarship in honor of Gerry’s parents.
“My parents were older when I was born and had lived through the depression,” O’Grady-Pershing says. “They had to sacrifice to put me through college, just as many families now are finding it difficult to put children through due to the economic situation in our country today.”
O’Grady-Pershing ’55 notes that the staff and faculty at the University gave her a lot of inspiration while she was a student, majoring in education. “It was sometimes subtle but it permeated the campus and we were encouraged to be involved in many endeavors.”
She had made lifelong friends at the University and has stayed in contact with them. “It’s been nice to share all the ups and downs of life together.”
—Gerry O’Grady-Pershing ’55
O’Grady-Pershing had a long, successful career in education as an elementary school teacher in Detroit Public Schools (DPS). She also conducted educational programs for students through the state and federal government as a DPS employee. She also was an adjunct faculty member at U of D for one year. Keeping her hand in teaching since retirement, she works with third graders at Farmington schools as a presenter of a substance abuse awareness program known as BABES.
The scholarship in her parents’ names is awarded annually to undergraduate students in good academic standing, with preference given to Catholic students.
She believes that her parents would approve of the scholarship. When O’Grady-Pershing was inducted into the College of Liberal Arts & Education Hall of Honor on Oct. 31, 2011, she noted that this was the date of her parents’ wedding anniversary. At that day’s luncheon, she met that year’s scholarship recipient and was impressed with him and his career plans.
A recipient of the 1970 U of D Alumni Tower Award, O’Grady-Pershing says she admires the principles of the Jesuits, how they educate and help those in need with empowering programs. Her gift follows in that tradition.