Jean Mcnamara1

Donor Story – Jean McNamara

April 20, 2023

Jean McNamara graduated from the School of the Brown County Ursulines in 1972. Between 1945 and 1981, the School of the Brown County Ursulines taught over 4,200 students from the Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish faiths.

The school, which sat on the grounds that would first become Chatfield College and then today’s The Chatfield Edge, was incredibly impactful to Jean.

“My moral compass was established there. I learned how to learn, and I developed confidence in my abilities. These are intangible gifts that go beyond the content of any particular class.”

That is why Jean has been a faithful donor and supporter to students needing Chatfield’s help for over a decade.

“For me, higher education is not just a way to establish a career but a means to elevate one’s standard of living – intellectually, spiritually, and occupationally. It’s a springboard for motivation and aspiration. I really want others to experience what I did.”

Why start a scholarship?

By founding the Helen & Francis McNamara scholarship, Jean is helping student Pamala Hurley live her dream. Pamala is a 76-year-old student working toward a social work degree to assist better the people she serves at her community food pantry.

“Chatfield is unique in its mission to support those for whom higher education has traditionally been out of reach. It’s the ultimate way to enable someone to change the course of their life, and that can occur at any age,” said Jean.

“As a lifelong learner myself, I started my last degree program at age 59; I know personally it’s never too late to take the road less traveled.”

Future fundraising

Jean’s message to those considering getting involved with The Chatfield Edge is clear. “Whether you tutor a young person or fund an older student returning to school, you will contribute to changing a life for the better.”

The Chatfield Edge’s spring fundraising campaign is just beginning, and you can still get involved. We seek community members interested in mentoring, volunteering, and engaging financially  in the organization’s mission.

If you have questions about supporting The Chatfield Edge, please contact Kelly Smith at 513-875-3344 x 117 or