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Donor Spotlight: Dr. Janet McDaniel

March 5, 2024

Decades ago, as an elementary school girl, Janet McDaniel attended Ursuline Academy on the corner of Oak Street and Reading Road in Cincinnati. There she was inspired by the story of Julia Chatfield and the Ursuline Sisters and developed a love for education, spirituality, and the arts.

Although she left Ursuline after completing the sixth grade to attend a public school, she remained connected to the Ursuline Sisters, attending summer camp at their Brown County campus with her sister.

“The spirituality of the Ursulines helped us face the challenges around us” she recalled. “The Sisters instilled in us a confidence that we could do anything we put our minds to and encouraged us to not fear failure.”

With a belief that only through education can society solve some of the problems it faces, Janet pursued her own education with passion. She earned four degrees from the University of Cincinnati in history (B.A.), education (B.S.), literacy (M.Ed.) and curriculum and instruction (Ph.D.). Her 40+ year career as an educator included teaching high school history in Amelia, elementary school in Andover, MA, and more than 30 years as a second-grade teacher in the Indian Hill School District.

Through the years, Janet kept an eye on the Ursuline Sisters as they started Chatfield College in 1971 and eventually expanded their mission in a new building in Over-the-Rhine in 2015.

In 2022, Janet served as president of the Cincinnati Women’s Club, an organization that enriches lives through philanthropic action and educational opportunities. As president, she had the opportunity to select an organization for which the group would fundraise. Without hesitation, Janet selected Chatfield College as her “President’s Project.”

Months after the fundraiser, Janet learned that the college was transitioning from a college to a non-profit organization, The Chatfield Edge, that would support educational attainment for first generation and underserved students.

“It was worrisome to do a fundraiser for an organization and then find out it was closing,” she said, “but I think the transition has been most successful.” She credits this success to the continuing legacy of the Ursulines.

“I think many non-traditional students are frightened by the challenges that post-secondary education presents. They lack confidence and fear all the new things they encounter including the economic element of access and managing finances. Many haven’t had training in this area while growing up,” she said.

She knows firsthand, however, that the Ursuline legacy fosters a belief that helps individual believe that they can achieve success.

“The Sisters have deep faith and believe in diverse individuals and their unique gifts and talents,” Janet reflected. “Like the Ursuline Sisters, I believe that education is a key to solving society’s challenges by allowing individuals to grow, accept responsibility, and use their gifts to benefit others.”

Janet chooses to support The Chatfield Edge because she believes that we are all given special gifts and talents and it’s our responsibility to use those to benefit others. “We owe something to our community. As the Bible says, ‘to those who have been given much, much will be expected.’”

Financial support from donors like Janet allows The Chatfield Edge to provide guidance, scholarships, mentoring, and spiritual resources to empower individuals to achieve their life goals through education. To learn how you can become part of this 178-year educational legacy as a student, volunteer mentor, or donor, go to our website (chatfieldedge.org) or contact us at 513-875-3344.