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4/27/2013 9:31:00 AM
Support surges for St. Mary's
St. Mary's Academy photo
Mary Stevens and Virginia Mathews sit at the 2012 St. Mary's Academy Food for Thought Tuition Assistance Luncheon. Stevens and her husband have donated $2 million to the college prep school for girls.
St. Mary's Academy photo
Mary Stevens and Virginia Mathews sit at the 2012 St. Mary's Academy Food for Thought Tuition Assistance Luncheon. Stevens and her husband have donated $2 million to the college prep school for girls.


St. Mary's Academy has received a $2 million gift from Mary and Mark Stevens to establish an endowed scholarship in honor of Mary's mother, Virginia Mathews. The donation is the largest single private individual gift in the school's 153-year history.

The Virginia Mathews Endowed Scholarship will provide tuition aid for families who cannot pay the annual tuition of more than $11,000.

Mary Stevens graduated in 1980 and her sister, Molly Bjorklund, is a member of the class of 1985.

"This extremely generous gift helps safeguard our commitment to keeping a St. Mary's education accessible," said Christina Friedhoff, St. Mary's Academy president. "It truly helps to secure the future of our school, and we are inspired that it pays tribute to such a wonderful woman."

Mary Stevens worked in the commercial real estate industry for 14 years. Mark Stevens is the managing partner of S-Cubed Capital and special limited partner and former managing partner at the Silicon Valley venture capital firm Sequoia Capital. The couple was inspired to make the gift after Mary attended a fundraising luncheon this fall and heard current students and alumnae express thanks for financial aid.

"Knowing that there are choices in Portland for private education, I want St. Mary's Academy to be an affordable option for the brightest candidates who will go on to do great things and remember that they had been helped and will give back once they can," Mary Stevens said. "It is also important to me that St. Mary's remains a financially secure single-gender school."

The gift is intended to help middle-income families requiring a partial scholarship to put St. Mary's within reach, and will allow the school to provide aid to more students.

Meanwhile, the school's recent auction raised more than $800,000, the largest amount in the event's history. More than 600 attended at the Oregon Convention Center.

"Financial success like this provides the resources for more opportunities for students," said Friedhoff.

Event co-chairs were Allison and Chris Martin and Dana and Michael White. This year's auction had special meaning for the Martins and the Whites, since both of their daughters are seniors.

"We've seen young women from all backgrounds become confident, compassionate leaders through their experiences at St. Mary's," the co-chairs said. "It is our privilege as parents to give back to the school."

A special paddle raise for the tuition assistance program was led by Sister Linda Patrick, a 1967 St. Mary's Academy graduate who now serves as assistant principal of student life. That item alone raised more than $256,000. About 42 percent of St. Mary's students receive financial aid.  



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