Robert Decelles first contemplated law school, he assumed it was out of reach. After graduating from Boston College, he didn’t think he could afford to continue; his parents had saved to help him with undergraduate tuition, but there were no resources for graduate school. When he said as much in a chance conversation with Father Robert Drinan, then dean of BC Law, Fr. Drinan encouraged him to have faith, saying things would work out. And just like that, Decelles was accepted and qualified for a scholarship.
It was a different financial landscape then, says Decelles. He and his wife Mary Dupont are well aware that today’s students often struggle with debt after graduation, and it has long been important to them to create a larger pool of financial aid so more students have the opportunity of a BC Law education. They’ve been giving back to BC since soon after Decelles’ graduation, “starting small,” he says, but steadily increasing their support.
Retired accountants and active philanthropists, the couple support a variety of organizations—and increasing access to education is especially important to them. “We have been very fortunate in our lives, and the key to that success, for us and for our children, has been high quality education,” says Decelles.
The plight of veterans returning from Iran and Afghanistan has been of increasing concern to them as well. “These veterans did so much for their country, making incredible sacrifices—and then they return to a job market that often does not value their skills,” explains Dupont. The Decelles Family Veterans Scholarship Fund extends financial aid to a student who has served honorably in the US military or the child of a veteran. Dupont hopes that their scholarship will help veterans earn a degree and discover an “effective and clear career pathway.”
Several years after establishing the scholarship, Dupont and Decelles included bequests in their estate plan to augment the fund. “We know how important funding is to any organization, and if funding were to stop every time someone died, the institution would falter,” explains Dupont. “We wanted to be sure that our giving stream will continue.
“It all comes together naturally for us: supporting BC Law and honoring these men and women who have served our country so well. This scholarship will always be there to help them,” she says.
To learn more about establishing an endowed fund, or to make a planned gift, contact Jessica Cashdan at 617-552-3536 or firstname.lastname@example.org.