In life, Julia McHale valued learning and considered a good education one of the most precious gifts to give to a child. In death, the retired Oklahoma State University professor left a gift that will help provide quality science education for generations to come.
This month, OMRF received a gift of $34,000 from the estate of McHale, who died last year at the age of 89. The gift, which McHale designated for OMRF’s Sir Alexander Fleming Scholar Program, brings her total giving to OMRF to $90,000.
Beginning in 1983, McHale made regular gifts to the medical research foundation, primarily to education programs. Before she died last year, the longtime Stillwater resident made a provision in her will to ensure that her last gift, too, would benefit OMRF.
After touring OMRF in the early 1990s, McHale established the James Henry McHale Scholarship Fund at OMRF in memory of her father. Each year since, the McHale scholarship has funded a position for one student through OMRF’s Sir Alexander Fleming Scholar Program, a summer research program for Oklahoma high school and college science students.
“Programs like the Fleming Scholar Program help students become interested in serious science,” McHale said in a 2000 interview. “It also provides the opportunity for me to continue my lifelong support of quality education for young people.”
McHale graduated from Syracuse University and received a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1956. She joined the faculty at Oklahoma State University in 1960, where she specialized in the areas of developmental disabilities, clinical psychology, family therapy and women and minority studies. As a Fulbright Scholar, McHale worked with the Egyptian government to establish homes for the homeless. She retired from OSU in 1985.
“Julia McHale knew the importance of education in a well-rounded life,” said OMRF President Stephen Prescott, M.D. “She devoted much of her career to the education of young people, and through her gifts to OMRF, she has made it possible for many to pursue careers in science. Many more will have that opportunity in the future, thanks to Dr. McHale’s vision and generosity.”