Everybody is aware of the importance of education. Moreover, nowadays the number of non-profit organizations and philanthropists willing to support and invest in education has been increasing. Today, it is now common to see both corporate and non-corporate organizations promoting low-income students to go overseas and study at the world’s top universities; or donating money to other universities to endorse projects and educational programs.
The ongoing tendency of more people participating in the solution of certain problems that do not get worked on naturally, as the market as readers now it does not push institutions to do the right thing, has made possible to make as much progress as it is required. Only by paying attention to these things, and having the right people taking care of it and drawing more people in, the gap between these inequalities — not only in terms of education — can be narrowed.
Philanthropy simply put is being an optimist. It comes down to thinking that any problem can be solved. In the United States, the educational system has proven to have worked fairly well: there are great teachers in certain specific places and the 20% of students have gotten a top education with which they have succeeded and have shaped the country with their findings and developments in technology, health, software, etc. Nonetheless, the primal concern is related to the type of education the rest of the people are getting: not only it has been weak, but it is also getting weaker. The market, and the economy, usually provides opportunities to highly qualified people, and this is where philanthropy intervenes: it strives to change it so that people have equal opportunities. Conceiving education as the foundation for a better society and as the mechanism that keeps the country on the forefront of developments is crucial; thus, the more accessible the education is the better.
Patrick Dwyer and his foundation The Dwyer Family Foundation are aware of the importance of enabling low-income students to access high-quality education. In this sense, although there are a lot of renowned philanthropists like Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, etc., there are others like Jerry and Diane McKernan.
The McKernans were always aware of the magnificence of charity and its positive impact on mankind. When it comes to being a giver, the McKernans have led by example. This couple took a genuine interest in people, their community, and education. Jerry and Diane were recently honored by the LSU College of Education. They supported more than 120 charitable and non-profit organizations throughout their life including the LSU Law School and the University Laboratory School. With the belief that education is the incubator that promotes and leads society towards excellency, Mr. and Mrs. McKernan devoted their time and their resources to LSU College of Education amongst other schools. Back in the early 2000’s the McKernans contributed with the most notable gift to the school, which also ended up drawing more people and philanthropists in, who helped provide enough money and funding for the school to begin its transformation of one of their academic wings.
Since the goal was exceeded in terms of money, the school’s board seized the opportunity and decided to expand their campus, the McKernans, however, helped them again increase the school’s financial goal with another notable and major donation with which the school built the performing arts and athletics building.
They firmly believed in giving back. Jerry attended the LSU College, and due to his competitive spirit, he did it on a sports scholarship in 1955. During his student days, his love for the institution grew and went on to last a lifetime. After finishing school, Jerry McKernan studied law at the Tulane Law School and began a brilliant career with one single goal: he would devote his efforts to bring justice to the wronged.
His wife Diane was a successful real estate broker and a law book saleswoman. The couple met when Jerry visited the bookstore where Diane would work at while he was looking for new books for his library, afterward, the couple married in 1988. Since Jerry became a distinguished lawyer, the McKernans managed to increase their resources and went on to establish the McKernan Foundation as the way to channel their philanthropy.
Due to their love for the LSU College of Education, Jerry and Diane McKernan supported with their donations the construction of the Gymnasium and the Multipurpose Facility — since Jerry was an acting enthusiast and sportsman —. Nowadays, these buildings were named after their last name as Pennington McKernan Gymnasium and Multipurpose Facility.
On April 20, 2012, Jerry McKernan passed away. His wife still continues their philanthropic endeavors.