Messenger - Vol. 4, No. 1, Page 14 1994 Endowment honors alumna's efforts for those with disabilities In tribute to Mary Custis Straughn's efforts on behalf of individuals with disabilities, a memorial endowment in her name was established in 1991 at the University of Delaware by friends and family, including her sister, the late Dr. Jane Crane Straughn, Delaware '53, and her mother, Henrietta Crane Straughn. The Mary Custis Straughn Endowment for Disabled Students honors the 1955 graduate who developed multiple sclerosis at age 38, yet continued her work as teacher, horticulturist, organist, sculptor and painter. After the initial memorial gifts were made, her mother and sister decided to enlarge this endowment through their own estate plans. Following the death of Jane Straughn in November 1993, her mother elected to legally disclaim a portion of her inheritance from her physician daughter, allowing it to pass directly to the endowment. The income from the $1.4 million Mary Custis Straughn Endowment for Disabled Students soon will be used to assist University students with disabilities and help them reach their educational goals through scholarships, fellowships, specialized equipment and services or through whatever future technological advances become available. A large-screen Macintosh Quadra computer for the visually impaired, which is located in the Assistive Technology Center of the Hugh M. Morris Library, already has been partially funded by this endowment. Even after she was partially confined to a wheelchair, Mary Custis Straughn, known as "Custie," was committed to improving conditions and opportunities for those with disabilities. One of her most significant accomplishments was her work for the Americans with Disabilities Act, the first comprehensive civil rights legislation on behalf of the disabled. In recognition of her efforts to promote its passage, Mary Custis Straughn was invited by President George Bush to attend the signing ceremony at the White House. The Other Side of the Mountain, a painting by Mary Custis Straughn donated by her sister, is currently displayed in the Goodstay Center at the Wilmington campus of the University. For more information on the advantages of planned gifts, call Paula M. Tilmon, Esq., Director of Trusts and Estates, at (302) 831- 2104, or write to her in care of University Development, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716.