AUGUSTA — The late Elsie Viles left Cony High School $1 million to establish a scholarship fund.

Income from the $1 million fund is to be used to provide annual scholarships to Cony students attending a Maine college or university.

The Augusta philanthropist, who died in March at the age of 98, left Cony the gift through the foundation named for her and her late husband,The Elsie & William Viles Foundation.

The gift was announced Thursday at the Augusta City Council meeting, where Mayor William Stokes read a mayoral proclamation honoring Viles and her numerous contributions to the city.

“Cony students, as long as that institution exists, will remember that name,” Stokes said of Viles. “That’s a legacy that will live forever because it is designed to live forever.”

Donations from the Elsie & William Viles Foundation built the healing garden at the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care and helped fund the new Alfond Center for Health, the proposed Lithgow Public Library expansion, the building of the Kennebec Valley YMCA, the stained-glass window restoration at South Parish Congregational Church and the auditorium at Cony High School, among many other civic endeavors.

Grandson Will Lund said very few people will be able to take steps, in their lives, that will last forever.

“Many of the things she did will last forever,” Lund said of Viles, a master gardener. “They are seeds that will take root forever.”


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