Sewickley Academy ends the decade with nearly $600K gift for scholarships

Wednesday, January 8, 2020 | 1:13 PM

As the last decade drew to a close, Sewickley Academy received a planned gift of $598,894.74 for student scholarships from the estate settlement of Ms. Henriette E. Rougraff ’45.

Henriette, who was affectionately known as Fifi and a lifelong resident of Sewickley, passed away on Tuesday, October 2, 2018, at the age of 88. She was the daughter of the late Emile and Marguerite (DeSaulles) Rougraff. Fifi graduated from Sewickley Academy in 1945, followed by the Penn Hall Preparatory School. After earning a bachelor’s degree from Chatham College in 1952, she completed her physical therapy training at the D.T. Watson School of Physiatrics in 1953. Fifi was a physical therapist for 37 years at the D.T. Watson Rehabilitation Hospital and a member of the American Physical Therapy Association. She was also a member of the Edgeworth Club, the Sewickley Valley Historical Society, and the Western PA Conservatory.

In 2016, when Fifi’s health began to decline, her caregivers contacted the Academy on her behalf concerning her wish to make an additional bequest to the school from her estate. She had previously signed a letter of intent in 2007 to gift $50,000 for scholarships.

“Fifi was a lovely person – unpretentious and caring about our community. She lived pretty simply, read a lot, traveled a little, liked to laugh, enjoyed socializing with friends, and mostly devoted her life to her job as a physical therapist at the Watson Home, going back to the days of Dr. Jonas Salk and the polio trials,” Susan (Ratcliffe ’55) Sour, Ph.D., Alumni Associate at Sewickley Academy, remembered. “She was an only child and had no immediate family – only a cousin or two. A gift of such size was a wonderful surprise!”

Sewickley Academy is deeply grateful to Fifi for her generosity. Her gift will provide a lasting legacy for countless students to receive an irreplaceable education for generations to come.

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