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The Gift of Observation

Marlene Gaunaurd
Marlene Gaunaurd’s ability to see the struggles of others led her to make an estate gift that will benefit MC students in need.

Marlene Gaunaurd’s gift of observation has helped her make significant life choices. While a freshman at Catholic University, she attended a Sunday night mixer where she noticed a young man across the room. He was wearing a (freshman) beanie. “Bill actually wasn’t a freshman,” she says. “He was there to meet people. And he was much more interesting than the freshman boys in my classes.”

Four years later, Marlene and Guillermo “Bill” Gaunaurd got married.

After college, Gaunaurd began working in Washington, D.C. and pursued a master’s degree in public health at American University by taking night classes. Following a 34-year career with Indian Health Services, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services, she enrolled at Montgomery College and enjoyed classes in art history, Middle Eastern history, sociology, and religion, to name a few. On campus, she observed some of her fellow students with children in tow.

“Some had babies or young children with them, and I found myself wondering how they can manage it all while taking college courses,” she says.

She also noticed students who did not have the books they needed.

Gaunaurd never forgot those students. When Bill died, she worked with her financial advisor, Ann Schnorrenberg, to establish an estate gift that would make a difference to students at Montgomery College. Then she contacted the Montgomery College Foundation.

Her directions to the Foundation were straightforward: “I want to help students get books.”

The Marlene J. and Guillermo C. Gaunaurd Endowed Scholarship and Marlene J. and Guillermo C. Gaunaurd Endowed Fund will support Montgomery College students with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, particularly those struggling to support families while pursuing a college degree. It will provide scholarships, textbooks, and emergency assistance.

With her estate plans now in place, Gaunaurd says she can devote more attention to her new favorite activities at her retirement community. She is learning to play bridge and participating in exercise classes. And she loves to enjoy meals with new friends.

For more information about the Montgomery College Foundation’s planned giving program, please contact Noah Saposnik, senior campaign director at 240-567-4108 or