The Chronicle of Philanthropy has featured the $2.5 million gift which Mary Bullock ’54 and ’64, left to National Louis University.
A kindergarten teacher who walked to work even in howling winter weather, Bullock spent 40 years teaching in School District 45, based in Villa Park, Ill. She bequeathed the gift to NLU’s National College of Education, which will use it as an endowed scholarship fund to support scholarships for early childhood educators.
National Louis has received $2.25 million so far from Bullock’s estate, and expects to receive $250,000 more. Bullock, who lived in Geneva, Illinois, was also a regular donor to the university’s annual fund.
“We are extremely grateful to Ms. Bullock, and moved that she so valued her NLU/National College of Education experience in preparing her to transform the lives of her own young students,” said Carole Wood, vice president of institutional advancement at NLU.
“We’re also proud that she touched the lives of so many students over her four decades of teaching.”
In addition to her bachelor’s degree, Bullock returned to NLU to obtain a master’s degree in 1964. She passed away last year at age 85.
Bullock’s colleagues and sister remembered her as a teacher strongly devoted to her young students.
“What a pleasant lady she was; always smiling,” said Dennis Gagnon, who served as Bullock’s principal for a portion of her career. “I remember the time Mary broke her wrist. She felt it was more important to be at school with the children than to probably get her wrist casted! She said she would take care of it that evening. She did and she came to school the following day with a cast. She let me sign it.
“Mary would probably have remembered most of her students. She knew them well, academically and emotionally.”
Joyce Mantels, the parent of one of Bullock’s students, said Bullock loved children and was kind and gentle.
“She was always firm, but fair,” Mantels said. “Mary wanted the children to learn more than their ABCs. It was important to her that they learn to be good people and good citizens as well, even at a young age.”
“One would see Mary walking briskly to and from the train, which she took to and from Geneva where she lived. A strong wind might have blown her over, but she continued to take that walk no matter what the weather.”
Esther Bullock described her sister Mary as sensitive.
“She was very aware of each child and what their needs were,” said Esther Bullock. “She had an awful lot of compliments from parents. Letters, gifts — she was so involved. It just meant a lot to her, the children. She was certainly dedicated.”
The NLU community is deeply grateful for this generous gift.