SU Voice Alumni Blog

A Tribute to Love, Learning and Legacy

Posted by The Seattle University Alumni Association on Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at 3:56 PM PST

A Homecoming Queen photo of Eileen ScallonEileen Scallon Evans Endowed Scholarship for Teaching

The Scallon family legacy at Seattle University spans generations. Eileen Scallon Evans, the family matriarch, entered Seattle College as a “pioneering” 17-year-old co-ed in 1937, just six years after College Dean James McGoldrick, S.J., opened the college to women. Her lifelong love and sense of gratitude toward the university is shared by Eileen’s children, Greg Scallon, ’65, Mike Scallon, ’70, ’76, Patti Scallon Oliver, ’71, and her youngest son, Tim, who took classes at the university, as well as her two grandchildren, Eileen Acheson, ’97, and Elizabeth Scallon, ’04. The family has chosen to honor Eileen and her story of love and perseverance through a tribute scholarship, the Eileen Scallon Evans Endowed Scholarship for Teaching, which provides access to education for future teachers, especially those with children.

Eileen’s Story

Eileen McBride’s decision to attend Seattle College was driven in part by her Catholic upbringing and in part by her distaste for sororities at other universities where she felt people were judged by outward appearances. “Mother knew Seattle College was a better fit for her,” says Oliver, “and she didn’t mind at all that women students were outnumbered by the men. She said the girls always had plenty of dates!”

Eileen studied sociology and engaged in student activities. She was the editor of the Seattle College yearbook, served as president of Silver Scroll (an honor society) and in 1941, her senior year, was chosen Homecoming Queen.

She met her future husband, Vince Scallon, at Seattle College. The couple married in 1941, following Eileen’s graduation, and eventually moved to Spokane where Scallon had been offered a regional manager position with a chain store. By 1949 the Scallons had two young sons and Eileen was carrying their third child, daughter Patti. Then tragedy struck. Vince suffered a heart attack and a massive stroke, very nearly dying. He would recover slowly over time but would no longer be able to provide for the family and his immune system remained compromised.

Suddenly, at age 29, Eileen had become the family’s sole breadwinner and her husband’s caregiver, as well as mother to three small children. Her first instinct was to move the family back to Seattle where she would have the support of extended family. Unsure what to do next, she turned to her alma mater, by then known as Seattle University, and sought the advice of Father McGoldrick. He advised Eileen to pursue a teaching certificate. A teaching credential in addition to her BA in Sociology, he counseled, would open the door to a teaching career which would allow her afterschool time and summers with her young family. In addition, William Codd, S.J., offered Eileen a work-study position in the College of Education while she worked on her teaching certificate.

Fr. McGoldrick’s wise advice started Eileen in the direction of a teaching career that would last more than 35 years. She taught kindergarten and second grade in Seattle Public Schools, twice winning the Teacher of the Year Award. Later she taught middle school at St. Mark’s, and substituted well into her 70s.

“Growing-up, things could be very busy,” Oliver recalls, but I never felt stress. I’m sure my mother did, but we didn’t feel it. I think it was her attitude. She’d wake-up in the morning with lots of energy and bake cinnamon rolls before school, and there’d always be something fun to do on the weekends. She made a wonderful home for us.”

In her later years, Eileen became active at Seattle U again. “Her heart never left Seattle U,” Oliver recalls. “Mother served on various boards, hosted events, aided alumni and participated in Elder Hostel classes offered on campus. That’s where she met Morris Evans years after my Dad passed away, and they got married.”

Eileen’s children were inspired to honor their mother with a tribute scholarship in Seattle University’s College of Education because of the environment in which they grew-up, where education was an imperative, and also because of the care Eileen received from the university community when times were tough.

“My mother’s example taught us that you better have a good education because you don’t know what life will bring,” Oliver says. “Seattle U was such an important part of her life, and she had so much gratitude for the education and support she received. It’s our hope that the scholarship will give students a lift, preferably students who share my mother’s experience of pursuing education while raising a family.”

“And there’s something else,” she continues. “My brothers and I received an excellent education at Seattle U and so much more. Fr. McGoldrick and Fr. Codd remained a part of our lives even after mother graduated. There was just this sense of intimacy and continuity. Seattle U was special that way—and still is.”

At the end of the day, not everyone has the means to fund an endowment. However, even the small gifts make a big impact. This February 25, we invite you to join us in celebrating Seattle U Gives—the university’s online day of giving. This year is special—your support will count towards Our Moment for Mission: the President’s Challenge. When we come together as a united alumni community, we're ensuring that every gift, whether $5, $50 or $500, adds up to make a powerful difference for our students.