Saint Mary’s University receives $25M gift, largest in school’s history

Saint Mary's University of Minnesota
Saint Mary's University of Minnesota(Saint Mary's University of Minnesota)
Published: Feb. 16, 2023 at 10:40 AM CST
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WINONA, Minn. (KTTC) – Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota announced a $25 million gift commitment, making it the largest gift in the university’s 111-year-history from an alumnus and his family.

According to Saint Mary’s, this donation, directed to the university’s endowment, will support current efforts underway to revitalize the university and cement the vision recently laid out by the president and university administration to position it for a strong and successful future.

“We are forever grateful for this truly transformational gift to Saint Mary’s. Such a generous and major investment inspires and motivates us to advance our inspirational Lasallian Catholic educational mission, benefiting students and, in turn, society, as they work, lead, and serve others. In these challenging times across higher education, this gift affirms that we are setting the course necessary to continue to serve students for decades to come.”

Father James P. Burns, IVD, Ph.D., Saint Mary’s president

While the benefactors wish to remain anonymous, they shared they felt compelled to invest in Saint Mary’s, stating how much they appreciate the hard work of the president and administration to boldly address the future course of Saint Mary’s.

As a stipulation of the gift agreement, in order to inspire others to step forward to provide support, the family has challenged the university to raise an additional $100 million between June 1, 2022 and May 31, 2024. The family also has set an expectation that the undergraduate enrollment will increase from 800 to 900 during that same timeframe. Both stipulations are intended to further position the university for the future.

“In addition to the historic magnitude of the gift, it is special for other reasons as well. The benefactors’ primary goal is to grow the university’s endowment from $70 million to close to $100 million and — with the match — close to $200 million, an increase of 180%. They believe strongly that with this solid foundation, and guidance by Father President James Burns and the Board of Trustees, many generations of students will benefit from a Saint Mary’s education — and, in turn, society will benefit from graduates who are both skilled and demonstrate strong moral and ethical character.”

Gary Klein, vice president for advancement

Previous record gifts to the university included $8 million in April of 2014 to our First Generation Initiative and an unrestricted gift of $7 million in June 2000.