Paper pub. date
April 2022
ISBN 9780870711831 (paperback)
ISBN 9780870711909 (ebook)
6 x 9, 168 pages. 27 b&w images. Notes. Index.

Bernard Daly's Promise

The Enduring Legacy of a Place-Based Scholarship

Sam Stern
Published in cooperation with the Dr. Daly Project

Bernard Daly escaped the Irish Famine and with his family emigrated to America, where he became the town doctor in Lakeview, Oregon, and then a state legislator, Oregon Agricultural College regent, county judge, rancher, and banker. When he died in 1920, his estate, valued at about a million dollars, established a college scholarship for the youth of Lake County, ensuring that most of them could attend college.

It’s hard to imagine a place more distant from higher education than Lake County in south central Oregon, a county about the size of New Jersey with a population under eight thousand. When the Bernard Daly scholarship was first awarded in 1922, less than two percent of America’s youth went to college, and the percentage was even lower in Lake County.

Today, Lake County students are much more likely to go to college, graduate in four years without debt, go on to graduate school, have successful careers, and contribute to the larger community—all because of a scholarship established a hundred years ago by an immigrant who sought a better life, not only for himself but also for others.

Drawing on more than a hundred personal interviews, an extensive web-based survey, and archival materials, Bernard Daly’s Promise offers unique insights into the benefits of higher education and how it might best be supported—questions that we are struggling with today.

Visit the Bernard Daly Blog:

About the author

Sam Stern is professor and dean emeritus of education at Oregon State University, where he has been on the faculty of education since 1981 and, between 2002 and 2011, served as dean of the College of Education. His teaching and research have focused on the relationships between learning and working, and have had both interdisciplinary and international dimensions. He has also taught in the Department of Systems Science at Tokyo Institute of Technology, the business program at the Athens Laboratory of Business Administration, and the Department of Economics at Harvard.

Read more about this author

“At once historic and timely, local and universal, Bernard Daly’s Promise provides a novel lens to understand the complex set of forces that shape the American Dream.” —Raj Chetty, William A. Ackman professor of economics and director of Opportunity Insights, Harvard University

“Bernard Daly’s Promise reveals the power of education to transform lives and society.” —Sue Cunningham, president and CEO, Council for Advancement and Support of Education

“Bernard Daly’s Promise is both a page-turner and a work of scholarly importance. A great read! —Stanley Katz, professor of Public Policy and International Affairs, Princeton

“Professor Stern tells a uniquely Oregon story about how one man’s philanthropy can lift up individuals and communities for a century – and counting.” —Sonia Worcel, chief community impact officer, Oregon Community Foundation

“A compelling story of philanthropy, opportunity, access to education and personal journeys.” —Larry Landis, author of A School for the People and former director of Special Collections and Archives, Oregon State University

“Sam Stern’s book is inspirational!” —Anne C. Kubisch, president and CEO, the Ford Family Foundation

“In Bernard Daly’s Promise Sam Stern uncovers a marvelous 100 year-long natural experiment in the benefits of community-based higher education scholarships.” —Michael Ettlinger, director, Carsey School of Public Policy, University of New Hampshire

"Bernard Daly’s remarkable foresight and commitment to make “a college promise for all” has — to this day — enabled thousands of college graduates to succeed in the workforce and in the rest of their lives. Profiled in this extraordinary book, Daly gave us an inspiring legacy that can now be brought to scale for millions more students in every community throughout our nation." —Martha Kanter, CEO, College Promise; U.S. undersecretary of education (2009-2013)

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