An inspiring legacy continues through the Eileen DeVries Family Foundation at Davenport

Eileen DeVries leaves a legacy that is inspiring! A nationally recognized leader in her profession as former senior vice president of investments at Merrill Lynch, Eileen built a prosperous career in Grand Rapids that spanned 40 years while also raising five children. She passed away on May 16, 2017 due to complications from cancer. 

Eileen began at Merrill Lynch in 1976 after taking an interview intended for her husband who had already secured a new position. At the time, women were only getting interviews as support staff, not as brokers. As a broker, Eileen was one of the most successful females in the industry. 

Her volunteer commitments to Grand Rapids included serving over 20 civic and charitable organizations including the Board of Trustees at Davenport University. Eileen also served on the Davenport University Foundation Board for 13 years.

Her daughter, Rachel Mraz, has followed in Eileen’s footsteps both professionally as a wealth management advisor at Merrill Lynch and civically by serving as a Davenport Foundation Board member, among many other community commitments.

In 1997, Eileen established a scholarship to benefit deserving Davenport finance majors with a 3.0 GPA and 40 earned credit hours. In her mother’s memory and serving as president of the Eileen DeVries Family Foundation, Rachel has expanded the opportunities available to scholarship recipients by including the option for international study in the summer.

“Among my mother’s passions was a love for education and for international travel,” said Rachel. “So she would be excited to know that through Davenport and her scholarship, we are offering the additional option for her scholarship recipients to benefit from an international study experience.” 

Available in the summers following sophomore or junior year, the summer international study opportunity provides students with a valuable global experience.

“Even when my mother was undergoing cancer treatment, she visited six countries,” said Rachel.  “She never stopped learning or seeking experiences that enhanced her own perspective.”

“One of her great legacies to education is her scholarship at Davenport and its option for students to gain the same global understanding that she valued so much.”

To learn more about Davenport University scholarships, contact Louise Kidd at


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