Portrait of former President Obama’s mother unveiled at Mercer Island High School

SEATTLE — Hawaii was a huge part of former President Barack Obama’s childhood. But, what you may not have known is that his mother was a proud 1960 graduate of Mercer Island High School.

A memorial celebration in honor of Stanley Ann Dunham was held at the school Tuesday.

A new portrait of Dunham was unveiled during the event, which took place on what would’ve been her 80th birthday.

“She, herself, was a profound leader,” said Michelle Flowers-Taylor, board chair of the Stanley Ann Dunham Scholarship Fund. “She was really passionate about the work she did with her research and she traveled the world and she was bold and brave enough to do that at a time when a lot of women didn’t or couldn’t do that.”

Flowers-Taylor says the fund has been distributing scholarships to Seattle high school students since 2010.

Each year, six scholarships are distributed to female-identifying high school seniors who exemplify “the values that Dr. Dunham exhibited in her life,” as well as academic excellence, community service and leadership.

The scholarships initially went solely to graduates of Mercer Island High School.

Students at Rainier Beach High School and Chief Sealth International High School are now also eligible to receive a scholarship.

Seattle-based artist Al Doggett said he was inspired by Dunham’s life and work as a pioneering anthropologist when creating the portrait.

“She was creative and that kind of drew me into who she was and it was a joy to connect with her in a sense,” said Doggett.

The portrait includes shadowed portraits of the former president and her daughter, Maya Soetoro-Ng.

Dunham died of cancer in 1995, at the age of 52.