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Helen McKarney McNamara


Helen McKarney McNamara

Duquesne University is grateful for friends like Helen McNamara. Helen's late husband, James D. McNamara, A'45, and his father, William H. McNamara, B'26, were graduates of Duquesne University and both held a passion for learning, travel and business.

Helen stated, "Having been reared in Pittsburgh and always active in the Catholic Church, I learned at an early age that Duquesne University was the epitome of excellence. After Jim and I were married, I learned that my father-in-law, Bill McNamara, had attended Duquesne classes at night when he was already married, the father of four and working full time during the day." Duquesne University was the only institution of higher learning that was offering night classes in those days.

Following Jim's death, Helen felt a compelling need to honor her late husband and father-in-law. The solution for Helen came in the form of a charitable gift annuity, a planned gift that would provide Helen with a guaranteed lifetime income, numerous tax benefits and ensure the establishment of the James D. and William H. McNamara Professorship in the A.J. Palumbo School of Business. This most thoughtful and generous gift provides a living memorial to Helen's late spouse and father-in-law at Duquesne University in perpetuity.

Helen's Duquesne connection pre-dates her marriage. Helen stated, "My mother's nephew, Paul Leger, graduated from Duquesne in 1925, then continued on to seminary and served as parish priest in Monongahela for many years. As a young woman, I would have loved to have attended Duquesne and become a teacher, but that just wasn't in the cards for me. Financially, I had to go to work. I started with Westinghouse in 1936 and retired from Westinghouse in 1980. I know that education opens the doors to opportunity. Without an education, one has very few options."

Today, Duquesne University still reaches out to serve students both day and night. In addition, most Duquesne students receive some financial aid.

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