In the 1930s, Mary Ann Reynolds’s parents couldn’t afford a house in the best school district in Riverside, California, but education was essential to them. Her father bought a house in Riverside on the condition that he build the prior owner a new garage. When Mary Ann began attending Pomona College as a first-generation college student, there were no scholarships available to her, so her parents took out a loan and bought an apartment complex with part of the rent used to fund her education.
“Then, when I decided to go to medical school” — at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri — “he built a duplex,” she said. When Reynolds became one of the early female graduates of Washington University’s School of Medicine, she turned her parents’ dedication to paying for college into her own.
Reynolds’s late husband, Ed, also a physician, likewise prioritized education, making gifts to colleges and universities. In 2012, they established the Drs. Ed and Mary Ann Reynolds Honors College Scholarship at Boise State which provides four-year tuition to high-achieving students. Following Ed’s passing, Mary Ann has continued giving to the scholarship.
Of the 27 students who have received the scholarship, 12 of them graduated in four years, while the remaining 15 students are on target to finish at the same rate.
Scholarships allow students to perform academically without worrying about the cost of their education. They also propel dreams and fuel careers, something three graduating Reynolds scholarship recipients demonstrate. Anaka Ronan is majoring in accounting and plans to join the Armanino LLC accounting firm in Boise. Caitlin Vasko, a political science major and Truman Scholarship finalist will attend William and Mary Law School in the fall. Ryan Olson, majoring in mechanical engineering, will graduate with a job at Radio Flyer in Chicago. He noted how receiving scholarships allowed him to do more with his education.
“I was able to participate in so many clubs and organizations that I wouldn’t have been able to without a scholarship,” he said.
These impacts inspire Reynolds. Like her parents, Reynolds believes education shapes people’s lives and lifts up society.