Saint Columbkille receives largest gift honoring a graduate

Bequest honors Millie O’Brien Tudor, a 1936 alumna of the Brighton partnership school

A bequest in memory of a loyal Saint Columbkille School graduate is the largest single gift ever received in honor of an alumnus by the Brighton parochial school, which operates through a partnership with Boston College and the Archdiocese of Boston.

Kathleen (Kathy) Tudor, who died last year, left a bequest of $765,000 as a testament to her mother, Mildred O’Brien Tudor—known as “Millie”—who graduated from Saint Columbkille in the midst of the Great Depression. Millie, who died in 2020 at the age of 102, had left her estate to her daughter Kathy, who then bequeathed it to her mother’s alma mater.

Millie, who lived modestly and was not a woman of means, had previously donated a total of $550 to the school.

“The donation from Saint Columbkille alumna Millie O'Brien Tudor and her daughter Kathy Tudor is an incredible blessing,” said Jen Kowieski, head of school at Saint Columbkille Partnership School (STCPS), as it is now known. "The generosity of both Millie and Kathy will ensure that an education at Saint Columbkille will be available to all who seek it for generations to come.”

The donation is designated to support the Peter McLaughlin Endowment Fund for Financial Aid, established in 2018 in honor of its inspiration and namesake Peter McLaughlin, who is former chair of the board and trustee emeritus of Saint Columbkille Partnership School. The endowment underscores his commitment to making Catholic education accessible to all. He has long been instrumental in generating funds to support families in need of tuition assistance at St. Columbkille.

“The wonderful transformational gift from Millie and Kathy Tudor will enable the school to provide financial aid to deserving students. It allows us to stay true to our mission of providing a high-quality Catholic education to all our students,” said McLaughlin, a 1959 Boston College alumnus who served as an interim executive director of the Boston College Alumni Association.

“We hope to embody Millie and Kathy’s generous spirits as we offer financial support to our students,” added Kate Ward, chief advancement and enrollment officer at Saint Columbkille. “We plan to name them ‘Millie’s Scholars,’ so the students who benefit from this gift will be reminded of her kind-heartedness.”

1936 yearbook photo of Millie O'Brien Tudor

1936 yearbook photo of Millie O'Brien Tudor

Millie, who flashes a radiant smile in her 1936 Saint Columbkille School yearbook photograph—her senior profile identifies her as “a resident of good old Brighton,” where she was born in 1918—was a member of the school’s first co-ed high school graduating class. She fully engaged in her educational experience: She enjoyed camaraderie with her classmates, loved both the dramatic and visual arts, played basketball, swam, and served on the yearbook staff and prom committee. Millie relished her years there and credited the school, founded in 1901, for her deep faith.

As an adult, Millie was never far from Saint Columbkille. She married and lived with her husband John Tudor in nearby Newton, where they raised their family. Though her life was not easy—she lost two children at young ages and was predeceased by her husband and adult son—she embraced her schoolgirl philosophy of “looking at the sunny side of life.”

Millie would be thrilled by the donation to Saint Columbkille, according to neighbor Denise Murphy, Kathleen Tudor’s friend, who was close with the family and said the fond memories of the school that Millie shared throughout her life made a strong impression on her daughter.

“She would have said, ‘I expected nothing less from Kathy,’” Murphy said. “Millie would have wanted the money to support the education of the students at the school. Kathy knew that her mother loved Saint Columbkille and what the school meant to her.”

That sentiment is echoed by Joy Seufert, Kathleen Tudor’s second cousin. Saint Columbkille “was a big part of both Kathy and Aunt Millie, who were generous people. [The school] was the love, the binding force, the assistance, the help, the everything [for Millie].”

 “The Saint Columbkille school community strives to live out the Jesuit value of
being people for and with others,” according to the school’s announcement about the donation. “Students are formed not just in academic knowledge and skills, but in how to care for others. Kathy and Millie’s gift ensures that students for generations to come will be able to grow in knowledge, service, and faith at Saint Columbkille. And the generosity of Kathy and Millie Tudor is a living example of what it means to be a person for and with others.”

STCPS is now a leading Catholic and Jesuit-influenced private school for preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school students. In 2006—amid declining enrollment among Catholic schools nationwide—Boston College and the Archdiocese of Boston collaborated with Saint Columbkille to reestablish it as Saint Columbkille Partnership School, to provide additional resources for a new national model of excellence in Catholic education, fusing rich tradition with innovation. In 2018, STCPS was designated as the laboratory school for BC’s Lynch School of Education and Human Development, to enhance opportunities for teacher training, educational research, and professional development.

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