Betsy McCandless

Read more about how Stephen ’63 and Carolyn McCandless have generously been able to use Betsy’s memory to support our Peer Education Program and, thus, our Mines community.

Elizabeth “Betsy” McCandless was a technical writer and a systems engineer for software companies. Her favorite position was working for a small artificial intelligence company in Boston. She was an intelligent, successful person with a support system of family and friends.  

She met a charming man who convinced her to get married within a few weeks of dating, and within a short time, he took control of her life, her finances, stalked her at work, and abused her. After six months, Betsy had the courage and help of friends and family to safely escape the situation. She filed for divorce and began the journey of rebuilding her life.  

Betsy took a self-defense course, joined a support group, and rented a new apartment. One day, Betsy went back to her old apartment to get her mail. Her ex-husband, however, was still stalking her, he was waiting for her in the ground floor laundry room and he tragically took her life. Family and friends were left devastated by this loss.  

This story and Betsy’s legacy do not end there. Betsy McCandless’s values of hard work, independence, standing up against abuse, bravery, and helping others live on. Her strength continues to inspire those who know how she lived her life.  


Betsy’s family found this note in her checkbook. 

Betsy’s last wish was to help others, to prevent domestic violence, and to protect those currently suffering from abuse.  Today, she inspires the Peer Educators to help their peers at Mines by educating the Mines community on the signs of healthy and unhealthy relationships, resources for survivors, bystander intervention, resilience, and stigma reduction. 

Steve (Geological Engineering ‘63) and Carolyn McCandless have been financial supporters of Mines for close to thirty years. Their current focus is the Title IX office and Peer Education program for their work educating the Mines community to recognize harmful behaviors, intervene safely, and support those who are impacted by interpersonal violence. Steve and Carolyn established the Betsy McCandless Violence Prevention Fund in hopes of eradicating interpersonal violence while supporting survivors. It is the first donor-created fund for the Title IX office and it is to be used to promote domestic violence education for those in the Mines community. Stephen and Carolyn are especially proud of the Betsy’s Friends Peer Education program named in honor of Betsy which provides creative programming and interactive education for their peers about healthy relationships, consent, and bystander intervention. 

Thank you to Steve and Carolyn McCandless for supporting our commitment to promote healthy relationships, mental health, wellness, diversity inclusion and access, and for sharing who Betsy was and what she stood for. We are honored to be Betsy’s Friends and continue her legacy of helping others in our community.