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M.J.G. & Bess Dougherty

Our founders

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M.J.G. Dougherty, or Colonel Dougherty as he was widely known, played an important role in the history of Mesa, Arizona. He was admitted to the bar by the Supreme Court of the Territory of Arizona in November 1909. 

Born in Franklin, Kewanee County, Wisconsin on May 19, 1880, the son of a lumberman, M.J.G. received his education in the public schools of his home town. He attended St. James Academy and Stevens Point State College and graduated from Wisconsin State Teachers College in 1906. He received his law degree from Valparaiso University in Indiana in 1908. In 1909, he married Bessis L. Severn, a college classmate and talented musician who was born in Cuba, New York in 1878. 

Though childless, the Dougherty's had a keen interest in education and in helping students. The idea for the Foundation grew out of the Dougherty's love for children and education.