Home Education and Careers Ursuline Academy gets $1.75 million from Paul and Linda McConnell to support...

Ursuline Academy gets $1.75 million from Paul and Linda McConnell to support student scholarships, innovation programs

Ursuline Academy Lower School students celebrate the gift.

Ursuline Academy received a $1.75 million gift from longtime supporters Paul and Linda McConnell to create a tuition assistance program for Lower School children and bolster the existing “Innovation Program” they helped establish in 2016.


The Oct. 13 gift will have a widespread impact across the academy and provide a path to achieve the goals and objectives of the newly launched Blaze Brighter” strategic plan, according to a statement from the school.


“Ursuline Academy has benefitted tremendously from the longstanding support and generosity of Paul and Linda McConnell, and now this monumental gift will have a profound effect on our ability to serve our youngest learners today and in the future,” said Trisha Medeiros, president of Ursuline. “Our gratitude for Paul and Linda’s gift is only matched by our excitement for what this will mean for our entire school community, especially the deserving children we serve.”


The $1.75 million commitment is anchored by a $1.25 million gift to create the Paul and Linda McConnell Young Scholars program, supporting Ursuline’s Lower School tuition assistance needs. The gift will immediately direct $250,000 to the assistance fund and $1 million to endow the scholars program in perpetuity. The remaining $500,000 will expand the Innovation Program’s reach into the Lower School and create new learning spaces in the Upper and Middle Schools, designed specifically for young women to create the innovations they invent.


Linda and Paul McConnell pictured with Ursuline Academy Lower School students.

“As longstanding members of the Ursuline family, we have seen what an impact the school has had on the lives of its students and the greater community,” said Paul McConnell. “We are confident Trisha and her team will turn this gift into endless opportunities for children to grow, learn, and thrive as Ursuline students. Further, Linda and I hope this gift inspires others to give to the endowment, which ensures this storied institution’s financial security for years to come.”


The Paul and Linda McConnell Young Scholars Fund will provide tuition assistance to low-income students in the Lower School. Additionally, their support will help create a new partnership between Ursuline and St. Michael’s School and Nursery, which serves as a feeder to this program.


The gift will also fund the expansion of the successful Upper School Innovation Program into the Lower School. The Biz Kids” launch will create Lower School program opportunities for students focused on entrepreneurial mindset development, business creation, financial literacy and responsibility, media and communications, and branding and graphic design. A gift from the McDonnells’ in 2016 spurred the creation of the Innovation Program, which allowed Ursuline to be among Delaware high schools as one of the first to participate in University of Delaware’s EntreX program for high school entrepreneurs. Since the program launched, students have consistently earned accolades and awards in the Diamond Challenge, a worldwide pitch competition for social and business innovation ideas. 


The remainder of the gift will provide initial funding for a new Ursuline Academy IDEA (Innovation, Design-thinking, Entrepreneurship & Activity) Lab. Serving young women in both the Upper and Middle Schools, as well as exchange students from Salesianum School, this specialized instructional space will inspire and enhance innovation in teaching and learning. Further, the space will be a think tank where young women will develop business management and financial literacy skills.


The McConnells’ involvement with and support of Ursuline dates back three decades when their children attended the Lower School in the 1990s and 2000s.