Educating the Leaders of Tomorrow

Patty O'Neil and Stuart Flanagan

Dr. Stuart Flanagan, faculty emeritus, believes education can improve both individual lives and society at large. It's this belief that led him to endow four scholarships for students at the William & Mary School of Education: The S. Stuart Flanagan Family Scholarship, Graduate Fellowship, and Mathematics Scholarship; and the New Horizons Family Counseling Center Scholarship.

These endowments together have benefited 19 undergraduate and graduate students by providing tuition or other financial assistance over the last five years. Flanagan has given more than $621,000 to the university with over a third designated for scholarships in the School of Education.

"Giving to education is a way to have a chance at improving mankind. We need leaders in this country who can speak and think well," Flanagan said. "We need students from all backgrounds who are able to be those leaders and make contributions to our society. When you give to colleges, every cent is going toward the next generation."

Flanagan served as professor of mathematics education at William & Mary for almost 30 years, and has also taught high school science and mathematics. He had a special interest in testing and developed assessments to prepare students for state testing in public schools across the country.

While all of the scholarships Flanagan endowed are for School of Education students, specifically those training to be family counselors or K-12 teachers, Flanagan said he included two main criteria when establishing his scholarships. Students must demonstrate need, and they must have a record of service to others.

"Giving of yourself — if you don't have that as a teacher, you're missing the boat," Flanagan said.

His most recent endowment supports the New Horizons Family Counseling Center, the School of Education's student-operated family counseling teaching clinic. It offers free services to families of students referred by the public schools in the local area, and provides clinical experiences in marriage and family counseling for both master’s and doctoral-level graduate students.

For Flanagan, family is very important. Supporting the counseling center allows him to strengthen local families while also honoring his family, for whom he named his scholarships.

"If I've been successful, it's because of my family," he said. "My parents highly valued our education and had to sacrifice for it. They were very giving people and giving was expected of us."