An Educator’s Posthumous Gift to Alma Mater Will Help Fund Scholarships for New Teachers

Carol Mathews LeBeau gave around $7 annually to New Jersey's William Paterson University until her death in 2003. Now her estate is funding a $1 million endowment for scholarships for future teachers of students with disabilities.
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Published on March 16, 2023
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  • Carol Mathews LeBeau graduated from William Paterson University in 1945.
  • After her daughter Juliet died in June, 35% of LeBeau's estate went to her alma mater
  • Her gift will set up a fund to create the Carol Mathews LeBeau Special Education Scholarship, available to graduate and undergraduate students.

A New Jersey schoolteacher just made a big impact at her alma mater — almost 20 years after her death.

During her lifetime, Carol Mathews LeBeau donated $5-$7 every year to New Jersey's William Paterson University, where she graduated with a bachelor of science degree in elementary education in 1945.

LeBeau died in December 2003. But late last month, the school received a $1 million donation to create the Carol Mathews LeBeau Special Education Scholarship for undergraduate and graduate students.

The gift will be treated as an endowment to establish scholarships for aspiring educators who want to teach students with disabilities.

In her 1972 will, LeBeau allocated her entire estate to her daughter Juliet, who had special needs, according to the university. However, the will stipulated that after her daughter's death, 35% of her estate would go to her alma mater.

Juliet, who was most recently living in a home for people with disabilities in Florida, died at age 70 in June, initiating the donation to the university.

"(LeBeau's) consistently remembering (William Paterson University), every single year, is a priceless testament of her pride and philanthropy," Pamela Ferguson, president of the William Paterson University Foundation, said. "While she was not able to make a transformative gift in her lifetime, Carol remembered us with great generosity in her estate plans, and for that, we are very grateful."