Emeritus Professor Dr. John McDaniel makes second largest gift to ASC in college history

(11-05-2010)

A man who served his entire academic career to the benefit of Adams State College and its students has pledged the second largest donation in the college's history. Emeritus Professor of History, Dr. John McDaniel, committed the bulk of his estate to create the McDaniel Scholarship Trust, which will provide scholarships to help countless students for decades to come.

McDaniel's bequest was announced Nov. 4 at the conclusion of the Adams State College Foundation's annual Student and Donor Recognition Dinner, at which McDaniel was presented the college's highest honor, the Billy Adams Award.

Dr. John McDaniel with the 2010 Billy Adams Award, presented by ASC President David Svaldi.

Dr. John McDaniel with the 2010 Billy Adams Award, presented by ASC President David Svaldi.

Adams State Foundation President Duane Bussey said: "To have a scholar such as Dr. John McDaniel devote his entire academic career to Adams State College is certainly a valuable gift in itself. But now Dr. McDaniel has really outdone himself."

Adams State President David Svaldi noted: "The McDaniel Scholarship Trust is a fitting legacy from a man who always focused on students, in the classroom, through mentoring, and even following graduation. Dr. McDaniel realizes the importance of motivating students and providing them with the means to complete a college education."

In accepting the Billy Adams Award, McDaniel said, "I am profoundly grateful and deeply honored to accept this award, named for our own Governor Billy Adams, a longtime San Luis Valley resident and the namesake of the college we love and serve."

The Hon. Carlos Lucero '61 (left) regales the donor dinner audience with tales about Dr. John McDaniel. Seated from left: Dr. David Svaldi, MdDaniel, and Jenny Cooper. of the ASC Foundation.

The Hon. Carlos Lucero '61 (left) regales the donor dinner audience with tales about Dr. John McDaniel. Seated from left: Dr. David Svaldi, MdDaniel, and Jenny Cooper. of the ASC Foundation.

A surprise guest at the dinner was the Hon. Carlos Lucero, Adams State Class of 1961 and a longtime friend of McDaniel's. He recalled teaching in Adams State's pre-law program, and said all his students "raved about Dr. John McDaniel. He had the greatest respect for his students, and the greatest love and admiration for this college."

After some ribbing about McDaniel's frugality, Lucero said: "John marshals his funds and guards them carefully. Then when you least expect it, he demonstrates a generosity that is so outstanding that you can't believe it. . . . John has given and given and given to Adams State."

Earlier in the evening, McDaniel turned the focus on the students he always made his first priority. "Tonight four awards have been presented, but it is the donors and scholarship recipients that this evening is really about, and it is you we wish most to honor," he said.

"As someone who throughout his educational journey has benefited from scholarships, I would like to address particularly those of you who are fellow beneficiaries. It seems to me that there are two aspects to any such award. First, of course, is the monetary support, which is always welcome and may make a critical difference in one's being able to continue in college. But perhaps of equal importance is the intangible that some individual or group has recognized that your intelligence, hard work, and scholastic excellence are deserving of recognition and financial support."

Adams State students are already benefitting from another scholarship program McDaniel created in partnership with the ASC Foundation, alumni, and faculty. Eleven years ago, McDaniel set out to create 30 individual scholarship funds. He donated $5,000 to each fund, which was then matched by the donor and the Adams State College Foundation. Today there are not 30, but 40 McDaniel Scholarship Funds, with total endowments in excess of $823,000 that fund half-tuition scholarships.

McDaniel joined the history faculty of Adams State College in 1967. He served as head of the Department of History, Government, Philosophy and Foreign Language from 1994-98. Beginning in 1993, he presided over commencement ceremonies as faculty marshal. He was named emeritus professor in spring of 2007, when he retired after 40 years of teaching history at Adams State.

He received his bachelor of arts and master of arts degrees in English from Texas Christian University, then studied French culture and civilization at the University of Strasbourg with a Fulbright Grant. McDaniel had begun doctoral work at Harvard, but postponed it to work on John F. Kennedy's presidential campaign; he then worked in the Kennedy administration. Following JFK's assassination, McDaniel made a change and finished his doctoral work at the University of Texas. He also served as an officer in the Air Force.

The college's largest donation to date was received in 2007 from William and Joan Porter, who contributed 250,000 shares in E*TRADE Financial Corporation worth $5.8 million. It was designated to create the Porter Scholars program, which helps mathematics and science majors "on the basis of their need and their ongoing academic achievement." William Porter earned a degree in mathematics from Adams State in 1951. He is chairman emeritus and founder of E*TRADE and founder of the International Securities Exchange.

By Julie Waechter