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Strategic Plan: Stories that Inspire

The Maguire-Gockel Scholarship: Honoring Regis Jesuit Icons and Supporting Access

Depending on the era, there are certain iconic memories that all Regis Jesuit students would have shared. A prime example is Fr. Edward Maguire, SJ, who served as Dean of Discipline between 1971-73. Any student who attended at the time can’t help but remember him.
"Fr. Maguire was tough,” recalls Dan Murray ’74, who has helped manage the Maguire-Gockel Scholarship fund since its inception more than 40 years ago. “Every day, he’d be standing at the main entrance to the school, with his beefy arms around his Bible. And if he found anything awry—like a shirt untucked or maybe you were a bit tardy—he’d send you straight to JUG. Back then, I was a frequent miler.”

Murray still recalls the time he tried to skip his JUG assignment in favor of attending football practice. “Fr. Maguire said, ‘I want you to memorize these 20 lines of scripture.’ I tried and tried. But I could only get to three or four. Finally, I said, ‘I want to call my mom and transfer.’”

That was a pivotal moment for Murray, whose father had died when he was just 11 years old. One of seven children, his mother sent him “kicking and screaming to Regis for the male influence,” though Murray strongly preferred to be in school with girls. Financial aid made attendance possible.
“It turns out Fr. Maguire also had lost his dad at an early age,” said Murray. “He took an hour out of his busy day to talk to me about growing up without a father. He asked me what kind of home life I had, and we bonded right then and there. For the rest of the year, I felt his kindness.”

The following summer, Fr. Maguire died unexpectedly while swimming and Murray vowed to honor his life by starting a scholarship fund in Maguire’s name. That year, a few of Murray’s friends made small donations. and Br. Joe Gockel, SJ, who worked in the library and as a baker in the school cafeteria, became a stalwart supporter. Br. Joe was a memorable though less imposing presence on campus, encouraging and supporting students through their high school years. When he died in March 2003, his name was added to the fund.

"Br. Joe had a heart of gold,” Murray recalled. “He was happy-go-lucky; and every time you saw him, he was smiling. He would hit me up for $20 every year, and by the time I was about 28 years old, out of college and earning a living, he asked me to be a trustee of the fund.” 

Today, the Father Edward Maguire, SJ and Brother Joseph Gockel, SJ Perpetual Memorial Scholarship Fund, the official name, is the oldest and most prestigious in the school’s history, having helped more than 100 students—boys and girls—afford the cost of attendance. Now, as the chair of the fund, Murray contributes generously to it and to other strategic initiatives. He and his wife Denise have sent three of their four sons to Regis Jesuit, and in 2005 they were honored with St. John Francis Regis Outstanding Service Award for their volunteer engagement with the school.

Every spring, Murray and the others on the Maguire-Gockel Scholarship committee review the bios of a dozen or so rising sophomores to decide who will receive the scholarship for their next three years at Regis Jesuit. “We look for people who are economically distressed and have at least a 3.0 grade point average, though most are 3.5,” he said. “And they’re either involved in the Regis Christian Life Community (RCLC), or they’re giving back through their churches.” Then, the donors and recipients meet at a luncheon.

“I tell them about Fr. Maguire, and we talk about their dreams and aspirations. There’s a lot of pride among the kids who qualify for the scholarship. They know how lucky they are to be recognized in this way, and they hold their heads high. Years later, as a way of keeping Fr. Maguire’s care and concern alive, most of them give back to the fund.” 
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