Mary Grace (Gracie) Rolph Wright 1944
Lifelong Volunteer for Women’s Health and Havergal Advocate
Gracie embodies Havergal’s mission of making a difference – in both large ways as a leader in many community organizations, and in the simple ways that she has supported friends and family over the years.
Her daughters explain that, “As children, when we were asked what our mother did, we would often tell them, “Ëshe is a professional volunteer!’” Gracie is described by her girls as a kind woman who is accepting and eternally optimistic – a woman of great strength, love and warmth.
Having given tremendous amounts of time and energy to many charities, Gracie has brought exceptional leadership and organizational skills to her numerous volunteer roles, with a particular focus on women’s health and women’s education. Like her mother before her, she believes passionately that those who are privileged must give back to their community. This is an ethic that she instilled in her daughters, all of whom have continued a long family tradition of volunteerism.
Among her earliest volunteer roles, Gracie worked with the Cerebral Palsy Nursery and Clinic in the early 1950s. She went on to become President of the Women’s Committee of the Ontario Heart Foundation, President of the New Canadian Services Association, President of the Women’s Auxiliary of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, President of the Ontario Division of the Women’s Committee for Expo ’67 in Montreal, and a member of the Women’s College Hospital Board for a number of years. She was Vice President of the Junior League of Toronto in 1965 and, during her lifetime has completed over fifty years of continuous service with the Junior League and served on thirteen committees.
One of Gracie’s more unusual leadership roles was as the first female commodore of a sailing association on Lake Simcoe. Her children joke that this was because she could make herself heard without a megaphone! But it is no surprise that, even on vacation, Gracie lent her skills to help support a group effort.
As a Havergal Old Girl, daughter of an Old Girl, mother of three Old Girls and grandmother of a current student, Gracie has been a strong supporter and an enthusiastic advocate for Havergal for more than 70 years. She served on the Board of Governors and has had many volunteer roles within the Havergal Old Girls Association, including President from 1970 to 1972, and she continues to attend events and participate in school life as a Stoneager.
Written by Christine Johnston