A Clear Vision for the Future
As a parent and grandparent of USM students, and as a former Trustee and volunteer, Linda Mellowes has experienced the School through a variety of lenses. Because of this, she has a unique perspective on the quality of a USM education, and on the importance of supporting the School’s mission. “You see behind the scenes as a volunteer and I’ve always loved that,” said Mellowes. “I feel it is part of my continuing education, and that makes it really fun for me.”
Mellowes was actively involved as a member of the Board of Trustees from 1982-94 (she was president from 1989-91), chair of the Holiday Shops, co-chair of the 1986 Auction, and co-chair of the Endowment Campaign for University School, which raised more than $12.5 million in the early ’90s. She has served as a member of the USM Endowment Board since 1994. While her involvement is hard to match, her son Charles ’87 is taking a more active leadership role by serving on the Board of Trustees. “The more you’re involved, the more you understand the needs in certain areas for additional volunteers or financial support. Sometimes you don’t know how good something is until you see it as a volunteer,” she said.
It is the families’ long-standing relationship with USM that prompted Mellowes, her husband John MUS’56, sons Charles ’87 and John ’91, and their sons’ families to support the Our Common Bond campaign with a $500,000 gift. “John and I have always felt that a USM education is an investment for the long-term, one that will last for a lifetime,” said Mellowes. “We continue to support the School because we’re investing in the future of our grandchildren. What could be better than investing in education? It’s as simple as that.”
Mellowes has enjoyed seeing how the School has grown and evolved from when her sons were students to today, with six grandchildren currently enrolled at the School. “I think the USM experience continues to improve,” she said. “We’ve built on the past as we move to the future, with improved access to information and technology.” But she still values the traditional components of a USM education, like sit-down lunches with teachers. “I love walking by the dining room and seeing the kids eating together, talking with one another, helping each other get food and being respectful. It’s wonderful to watch kids interacting that way outside of the classroom, because in many ways it’s a classroom in and of itself.”
The families’ gift supports not only the School but the greater community as well. “We have seen the difference that a USM education has made in our kids and grandkids, and we feel blessed and privileged to have it as an option in our community. We can’t support everything and we have to make choices. But this is a choice that was very important for us to continue to support.”