Reaching Back to Help Pull Them Forward
Diane McDaniel will never forget the phone call she received on her birthday in 1968.
The conversation offered the best present she could have imagined—and one that affects her life to this day.
Her Glenville high school principal was on the other end of the line with news from Baldwin Wallace College. The school had a scholarship for minority students, and he wanted to recommend her. To her delight, she began her undergraduate career that fall.
The financial assistance did not simply make attending college easier—it made it possible. McDaniel was in the top 10 percent of her graduating class, but her family lacked the resources to pay tuition. With just a few words, her principal presented an option that changed her post-high school plans altogether.
Once she obtained her Bachelor’s degree, McDaniel wanted more—her MBA. Yet again, the support she needed appeared. Chuck Ames, then-CEO of Acme–Cleveland Corporation and McDaniel’s boss, learned that she had applied to a local MBA program. Ames, a longtime friend of the Weatherhead School of Management, questioned why she wasn’t applying to the school he considered the best in the region. McDaniel indicated that the cost of tuition stood in her way. She applied and, three months later, was accepted into the Executive MBA Program at Weatherhead—and her employer covered the cost.
After 25 years at Acme–Cleveland where she progressed from personnel clerk to vice president of human resources, followed most recently by eight and a half years as director of human resources at Cleveland Metroparks, McDaniel is now retired and recognizes fully the pivotal role such aid played in advancing her academic and professional aspirations. McDaniels shared,
I had an incredible experience at Weatherhead and was given an opportunity that many individuals are not given today.
McDaniel began supporting Weatherhead immediately after graduating, both with her dollars and her time. She received the Weatherhead Outstanding Alumnus Award in 1993 for her years of service, leadership and financial support to the school.
But she wanted to do more. Reflecting on her past, McDaniel decided that she wanted to support the next generation of minority students. Financial support had been the deciding factor in her educational pursuits, so it made sense for McDaniel to want to support scholarship at Case Western Reserve.
“I always thought that you needed millions of dollars to set up a scholarship,” said McDaniel, who was delighted to learn that this was not the case. With a bequest of $50,000, she worked with Weatherhead’s development team to establish the Diane O. McDaniel Endowed Fund which will be used to provide merit scholarships to African-American and Latino students studying in the MBA or Masters in Positive Organizational Development programs.
She has begun to fund the scholarship now so she can hopefully see its impact and meet its beneficiaries in her lifetime. McDaniel shared,
I would like to give other minority students access to the same experiences I have been blessed with throughout my life and career. I want to reach back and help pull them forward.
McDaniel was offered life-changing opportunities by people who saw her potential and offered her financial support and encouragement. She’s excited and proud that her legacy will allow her to do the same for others.
Go back to Planned Giving.