Cornelius E. Hagan, Jr., M.D
Born in Brooklyn, New York, on September 13, 1911, Cornelius E. Hagan attended school in the City of New York PS 171 and Boy’s High School. He attended the University of Virginia in 1929 and in the Medical College of Virginia in 1931 graduating in 1935.
He married Lydiellen in 1934, and together traveled to Englewood, New Jersey, where he was awarded an internship and surgical residency. He sought out additional internship at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York City where he earned his Otolaryngologist certification.
In 1940, he was awarded a position as an Otolaryngologist at Truesdale Clinic in Fall River, Massachusetts in 1940. In 1941, another earned award shortly after—his private pilot’s license!
He signed up for the U.S. Air Corp during WWII in 1943, and was assigned to Ft. George Wright in Spokane. He served until 1956 when he was honorably discharged. He and his wife, Lydge, decided to settle in Spokane where he set up his private practice as an Ear, Nose, and Throat Specialist on Spokane’s South Hill.
In his professional years, he was always involved with organizations that promoted the good health and community involvement of those he served. He was a member of the Spokane Club, Spokane Country Club, University Club, Flying Physicians, Flying Farmers, American Medical Association, American Business Association and the Spokane County Medical Service Corporation of Eastern Washington, Washington Physicians, and a board member and chair for several of those organizations. On many occasions, he combined his love for travel with his professional skills and traveled on a medical expedition to Nepal as an otolaryngology consultant.
During his lifetime, he and his wife were both avid pilots, together frequently flying back and forth to Colorado, where he was often found well into his late 80’s skiing on the mountains of Colorado as well as his favorite, Schweitzer Mountain in Sandpoint, Idaho. The same was true with his love for golf and travel. He loved to capture his surroundings through pictures and story. He was an avid storyteller and could hold the attention of many for hours with his extensive reserve of adjectives and adverbs that brought his stories alive.
He and Lydge continued to fly, ski and travel. However, his love for Wall Street never ceased. He was forever involved with the numbers and the roller coaster rides of the stock markets. Again he brought together his love for the stock markets with his love for learning.
In 1986, he established the Community Colleges of Spokane Student Book Endowment that continues to provide support for underprivileged students who are challenged with the high cost of textbooks. In 2005, a second major endowment to the Community Colleges of Spokane earned him the recognition as the Community Colleges of Spokane’s largest single contributor in history. They dedicated the school’s Center for the Humanities in honor of Dr. Hagan and The Hagan Foundation. The Center continues to be able to bring in a regularly scheduled series of noted speakers on a variety of topics for the educational community of Spokane Community College.
In 1997, he established the Hagan Foundation, choosing respected board members from the Spokane Community who held a firm grasp of numbers, had strong character values, and demonstrated a loyalty through their discussions and decisions to the adopted Mission Statement of the Hagan Foundation:
The newly selected Board asked him to clarify his vision of this Foundation. As was Dr. Hagan’s style, he chose to write his thoughts and added a story to further illustrate his words. The following are those notes to the Board:
“In forming the Foundation it was not with the idea that I should in my declining years undertake additional work. That was far from my intent.The basic idea was to do the most good for individuals and the community with the least amount of money possible. This does not mean that grants or donations should be skimped. The amount of money allotted to any cause should, within the capabilities of this Foundation, be sufficient to make a significant difference in the defined problem.
Let me tell you a story:
A banker once stated that in the making of a loan it was wise to determine the very smallest amount of money the borrower felt was necessary. Then to determine the amount of money that was reasonably necessary… The sum loaned should be sufficient for the borrower to complete his business deal. To give less would jeopardies the loan, for if the borrower’s venture failed the bank was in the possible position of losing the total loan. However, if sufficient had been lent, regardless of the borrower request, the venture had a reasonable chance of success and the bank had every chance of receiving payment of the loan. However, to lend more than was actually necessary might deprive some other deserving individual of a loan which might again allow for a successful venture.
The use of charitable funds is much the same as making a bank loan.
There will be many times when organizations and individuals have needs exceeding the capability of this foundation. This does not mean the foundation, with or without the help of others, can’t make a difference. Seed money advanced by the foundation (even challenge money) may be all that is necessary to start additional donations. In every case of true need, an effort must be considered. Unfortunately each individual case has to be examined on its merits.”
Upon Dr. Hagan’s death in 2012, at the age of 101, The Hagan Foundation board created Hagan Opportunities, a grant opportunity for all local non-profits located within the boundaries of the NE Washington Educational School District 101. His writings shared above became the guideline for the grant awards.
The grant searches for innovative, creative, and bold ideas that will excite our youth to reach new heights in their desire to learn; however, the recipients not forgetting “to do the most good for individuals and the community with the least amount of money possible”. The Hagan Foundation Board of Trustees has set high standards to maintain the integrity of Dr. Hagan’s wishes. Grants are read by a panel of highly qualified local professionals who have been carefully selected and who are committed to uphold the mission of the Foundation. The grants go through a rigorous process with the readers whose recommendations are presented to the board for final determination. Notification to the winners are made by phone by December 20th.
With the awarded grant projects underway, the Hagan Foundation Board hosts the Hagan Opportunities Reception on the third Thursday in April. This is a required event for all award recipients.
The members of the board have created this opportunity for celebration to graciously thank the recipients for their dedication and love for children as demonstrated through their creativity and innovation to bring student learning to a new level. These grant awards sustain and give life and energy to the dreams of Dr. Cornelius E. Hagan.
The evening offers opportunities for the networking of great minds—of like people who have dreamt big, been energized by innovation, creativity, bold ideas, and whose love for teaching and learning made it all happen for the love of our youth.
The event is traditionally held at Orlando’s at Spokane Community College with the Culinary Arts Department showcasing their future chefs.