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Mary E. Hagerty HD ’99 Mary E. Hagerty HD ’99
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Elaine Lindy Elaine Lindy
Frances and James J. MAGUIRE Frances and James J. MAGUIRE
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Frances and James J. Maquire

“I realized early on that if you’re going to progress in life, you can’t just be here for yourself.”

When people think of true philanthropists, they think of people like James J. Maguire and his wife, Frances. Through the Maguire Foundation, they partner with institutions and families with need to provide tuition, scholarship assistance and grants for education from grade school through to college. They do it, as Mr. Maguire says, from “the core belief that we have to be men and women for others.”

Drexel University is one of 24 institutions of higher education that has a Maguire Scholars program, which provides need-based scholarships to students from area high schools, and earlier in 2014 joined the handful of universities where the program is endowed. Thanks to the Maguires’ generosity, every year in perpetuity several Philadelphia-area high school students will be offered scholarships to attend Drexel. The scholarships are renewable throughout the students’ entire undergraduate careers at the University, provided they remain in good academic standing, are active in school or community volunteer activities and receive a recommendation from the University.

The Maguire Scholars program primarily focuses on students who graduate from Philadelphia Archdiocese schools, one of which recently entered into another fruitful partnership with the University thanks to a gift from the Maguire Foundation. This September, West Catholic Preparatory High School and Drexel celebrated the official opening of Maguire Field, an open-grass area located within Drexel’s Vidas Athletic Complex that was converted into a state-of-the art synthetic field for both institutions to use.

The addition of Maguire Field gives Drexel’s student athletes another weather-resistant area to practice and provides West Catholic Prep with its first dedicated football practice field. Previously, the school’s football team had to travel several miles to train at the Philadelphia Recreation Center Field. In addition to benefitting students of both institutions, the initiative also supports Drexel’s mission of civic engagement.

“Having a nearby, dedicated field gives West Catholic Prep students a sense of pride and recognizes the school’s importance to the West Philadelphia community,” Mr. Maguire says. This is especially significant, he adds, because West Catholic Prep was one of seven Archdiocese schools scheduled to close three years ago. The intervention and financial support of the Maguires and several other local business leaders kept the schools open.

Mr. Maguire’s abiding appreciation for the value of education was hard won. He was admitted into St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia on a basketball scholarship but was unable to maintain the 2.0 GPA young men needed at the time to defer the draft. A tour in the Korean War made him realize how much he needed a college degree to achieve the life he wanted, and upon coming home, he gave St. Joe’s another try. This time, with the help of a Jesuit professor who recognized in Mr. Maguire the then-little-understood symptoms of dyslexia, and the support of his wife, Frances, he graduated with a 3.5 GPA and a firm belief in the importance of giving back.

In 2015, Drexel will confer honorary degrees on the Maguires to celebrate their service to numerous education, arts and religious institutions. The accolade also recognizes Mrs. Maguire’s work in the arts and Mr. Maguire’s accomplishments in founding and building Philadelphia Consolidated Holding Corporation into a multi-billion dollar national insurance enterprise. After Mr. Maguire merged his company with Tokio Marine Holdings, the third largest insurance company in the world, he promptly made plans to expand the impact of the Maguire Foundation.

“This success was not for me,” he says. “It was so that I could give back.”

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July 1, 2013 - June 30, 2014
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