Staying Involved and Giving Back
Joe and Sharon (McDonald) Cade both graduated as Mathematics majors in 1976. In fact, they met as freshman in their first math class, Calculus 157, though they didn't start "dating" until December of their sophomore year. Below is a photo of them on their first date, and a more recent photo above.
First date December 1973
That first year after their graduation they began their annual gifting to Gonzaga University with a very small amount, and in 1979 they initiated their scholarship fund. Although gifts to the fund were limited, Sharon and Joe realized that giving something each year is better than nothing and that in time it would grow. And it has grown to the point now where several students each year receive financial aid from the fund's proceeds! Sharon often reflects on how satisfying it is to receive notes from the students who receive this aid, noting the big difference this assistance makes for these students.
Sharon and Joe give to Gonzaga because of the strong connection they have with the values they learned here and because Gonzaga had given so much to them -- "that sense of belonging to something bigger than yourself, the importance of involving yourself in the people around you, the understanding that you can make a difference if you just try," Sharon says. While at GU, Sharon played varsity basketball for four years, was captain her senior year, played varsity volleyball for a season, and played in the pep band for the men's basketball team. She served as a residence hall assistant and director; was president of the Spurs (now Setons); helped with Search retreats; and was a Student Regent, among other activities. She just had fun being a part of things.
Joe also was involved in Campus Ministry and the Search program (he was the first lay leader of a Search); participated in the Big Brother program; was elected Campus Council Chairman; developed a ceramics art class which jump-started GU's fine arts program; created the information kiosk on the center of campus (which is still standing); initiated the continuation of GU’s photo history shown on the first and second floors of College Hall which had been dormant for several years, and received the Lindberg Loyalty Award at graduation. He, too, just wanted to be involved.
Sharon retired after 28 years as a mathematics teacher in 2007. She took the commitment and desire to help others to a higher level through her work with many different groups of high school students. Joe is currently in research and development at the Bonneville Power Administration in Portland. He has worked there for 30 years in various positions, predominantly in energy conservation. He continued to serve others through the Boy Scouts and other neighborhood commitments.
The Cades have three adult children, David (a mathematics teacher), Steven (a third year law student), and Nicole (working in fund accounting).
Joe and Sharon have stayed involved with Gonzaga on several levels, including serving on the Board of Regents, working with GAMP, helping to recruit students from Portland, promoting attendance at GU sporting events in Portland, and serving as co vice-presidents of the Portland Alumni Chapter.
The Cades highly value the many people they have gotten to know through Gonzaga as well as the giving spirit of GU. Their scholarship is for students who mirror this involvement in the Gonzaga community, major in mathematics, have a sophomore standing or above, and maintain at least a B average. The scholarship is awarded in addition to students’ regular financial aid packages in recognition that costs go up each year and it is a way for the school to give more to help out.
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