Quincy University has received a $1.5M gift to support the John Mahoney Scholarship. This is the largest single gift to an endowed scholarship fund in the history of the university.
The gift, from an anonymous donor, will enhance the university’s John Mahoney Scholarship for students majoring in the humanities, which was established in 2019 with a previous gift from the same donor. The principal value of the scholarship is now nearly $2.5M.
Mahoney was a 1966 Quincy College, now Quincy University, graduate and Tony Award-winning actor, who was most famous for his role as Martin Crane on the long-running NBC sitcom, “Frasier”. Mahoney passed away in 2018 at the age of 77.
“For a second time, we at QU have the chance to acknowledge a truly extraordinary and generous gift. This anonymous donor has celebrated one of our most famous alumni, John Mahoney, and secured the future for generations of QU students,” said Brian McGee, Ph.D., QU president. “There will be a long line of future Mahoney scholars, united by their commitment to excellence in the humanities and inspired by Mahoney’s example.”
Mahoney was born in Blackpool, Lancashire, England, on June 20, 1940, in the middle of the German blitz of England. He immigrated to the United States in 1959, at the age of 19.
Following three years of service in the Army, he enrolled at QU. After earning a bachelor’s degree in English, he went elsewhere to earn a master’s degree in English and began his teaching career. Mahoney spent the next few years moving through various jobs, including time as a teacher and an editor for a medical journal.
Mahoney joined Chicago’s famed Steppenwolf Theatre in 1979, where he appeared in over 20 productions. In 1986, Mahoney won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play for his performance in the Broadway production of “The House of Blue Leaves”. In a career spanning four decades, Mahoney acted in dozens of plays, movies and television shows.
Mahoney was a dedicated and loyal QU alumnus who never shied away from helping his alma mater. In addition to his financial support of the university over the years, Mahoney often appeared at alumni gatherings involving one of his many plays or productions. He was the 1989 Commencement speaker and received an Honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters. In recent years, he served as the honorary chair of the Forever Forward capital campaign that raised more than $25M for QU.
“It is our hope that students of all ages will continue to discover and enrich their God-given gifts and talents through the guidance of the outstanding faculty at Quincy University,” said a family member of the anonymous donor. “In the spirit of excitement for, and love of learning, we hope generations of students will go forth and help others achieve their dreams.”
Mahoney worked his way through college and often struggled to make ends meet. The Franciscan Friars noticed and helped in any way they could. Their care and generosity stayed with Mahoney throughout his life.
In a letter to fellow alumni, Mahoney wrote, “Quincy University prepared me for anything I ever wanted to do in my life. It gave me wide-ranging knowledge, which has formed a broad educational base for my work as an actor. Many schools talk about their values and their caring atmospheres, but I experienced it directly. I’m a better person for having attended Quincy University.”
“This anonymous donor has created a lasting legacy for QU, for Illinois, and for everything about humankind and human accomplishment that should be valued and cherished,” said McGee. “We are all humbled by this donor’s commitment to do good and, further, to recognize the genuine goodness and inspirational example of John Mahoney.”
Founded in 1860 by Franciscan friars, Quincy University (www.quincy.edu) is celebrating 160 years as a Catholic, co-educational, liberal arts, residential university. Quincy University offers undergraduate, graduate, and adult education programs that integrate liberal arts, active learning, practical experience, and Franciscan values. Faculty and advisors work with each student to design a customized success plan to help them graduate on time, find their passion and prepare them for life. Quincy University’s intercollegiate sports are members of the NCAA Division II Great Lakes Valley Conference for men and women. For more information, please contact the Quincy University Office of Community Relations by calling (217) 228-5275. Quincy University. Success by Design.