Our Hearts Forever – Florence Dailey

The first woman philanthropist at Notre Dame that the Hesburgh Women of Impact will be highlighting and honoring is Florence Dailey, whose estate gift in the 1960s was one of the largest in Notre Dame history.

Florence was working as a secretary at a bank in upstate New York in the early part of the twentieth century when her boss encouraged her, among many of his employees, to buy stock in his friend’s new company. Florence took her boss’s advice and invested in the company, and kept that stock throughout the rest of her life, seemingly forgetting about it. That friend of her boss turned out to be George Eastman, and the company that he was launching was Eastman Kodak. At the time of her death in 1966, Florence owned approximately 154,000 shares of Kodak.

Florence had never married nor had any children, but as a Catholic, she valued faith, hard work, and the value of a good education above all else. Due to these values, when it came to writing her last will and testament, she wanted to give to Catholic education, specifically one of the most prestigious Catholic universities she had heard of. So, although she had no known association with the University of Notre Dame, she left half of her estate to the University.

Planned gifts such as this have made an incredible impact at Notre Dame. Since Notre Dame’s earliest days, planned gifts have sustained and advanced the sacred mission of Our Lady’s University in innumerable ways. From supporting scholarships, to funding professorships and even a deanship, planned gifts have helped to shape the Notre Dame we know today. In fact, it was a planned gift of more than 500 acres of land from Father Stephen Theodore Badin that enabled the historic founding of Notre Dame in 1842. Through planned gifts, Notre Dame’s sacred mission will continue to flourish—today, tomorrow, and forever.

The University of Notre Dame used Florence Dailey’s gift to endow the John & Mary Boyle Dailey Memorial Scholarship, named after Florence’s parents. This scholarship has provided financial aid for thousands of students, including junior Al Godlewski.

When the time came to apply to colleges, my heart knew that I wanted to go to Notre Dame, but I knew my parents were never going to be able to afford it. With some research, I was able to find the QuestBridge Scholarship program, a program that seeks to pair high achieving students from lower-income families and get them full scholarships to attend elite universities. Thankfully, I was accepted into the program and matched with my top choice, the University of Notre Dame.

Coming to Notre Dame was the best thing that ever happened to me. Through hard work and dedication, I set myself up to be able to come to this school and succeed under the rigorous coursework that Notre Dame provides. I have made so many friends and met so many amazing people that I wouldn’t have met at any other University. This was my dream school, and I am thankful every single day for this blessing.

-Al Godlewski, Class of 2023

Florence’s generous decision to give has lived on for decades past her life and continues to help provide many students with the amazing gift of a Notre Dame education.