The Gallagher Scholarship

Each year since 1994, the Gallagher Family and Big Shoulders Fund have randomly selected 10 elementary schools to each nominate five rising fifth graders for the Gallagher Scholarship, which is renewable through 12th grade. To date, the Gallagher Scholarship Program has sponsored more than 1,100 students.

Principals at Big Shoulders schools are thrilled when they are selected, knowing the difference this scholarship can make for families at their schools.

The Gallagher Scholarship is one of Big Shoulders’ longest running scholarship programs and has contributed to a number of great outcomes for students. Approximately three out of four Gallagher Eighth Grade Scholars choose to continue on to college-prep, Catholic high schools annually, which helps set them up for long-term success. In the class of 2014, 88 percent of Gallagher Scholars enrolled in college this past fall, at a rate well ahead of their local and national peers. Scholars enrolled at institutions such as DePaul University, Holy Cross College, University of Illinois, and Swarthmore College.

“I think the ‘secret weapon’ of the program is the Code of Conduct for Gallagher Scholars written by my father,” said Bob Gallagher, Jr. “It’s an 11-point program for success in school, but also applies to whatever the students choose to pursue after graduation.”

Originally nominated for the Gallagher Scholarship as a fifth grader at St. Helen Elementary School, Erik Almazan graduated from St. Ignatius College Prep in 2013. He continued on to the University of Chicago, class of 2017.

Almazan explained, “The Gallagher Scholarship was very important because it allowed me to go to Catholic school and grow not only socially and intellectually, but also spiritually. Growing spiritually is important and unique to Catholic education and is part of what the Gallagher Scholarship provided to me.”

The Gallagher Scholarship Program continues on in perpetuity thanks to the generosity of the late Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Gallagher and the leadership of their children Bob and Jane Gallagher, Richard O’Malley and Anne Gallagher O’Malley, Bill and Cissy Glading, and Dan Goese and Kate Gallagher. The impact of this family is affecting students’ lives every day.