Legacy grant for Henrietta Schmoll School of Health is St. Kate's largest gift ever
President Andrea J. Lee, IHM announced at a donor and Trustees' luncheon on Dec. 8 the largest gift ever received by St. Catherine. Lee also announced that the School of Health will be named for Henrietta Schmoll, a 1949 graduate of the College and former trustee. Photo by Andy Ferron.

Legacy grant for Henrietta Schmoll School of Health is St. Kate's largest gift ever

The College of St. Catherine has received the largest gift in its 104-year history from a donor who chooses to remain anonymous. The perpetual legacy endowment, which will be held in trust by a family foundation, will ensure a gift to St. Catherine of at least $1 million annually in perpetuity.

College officials estimate the endowment to be worth more than $20 million, especially factoring in the volatility of the current stock market. The donor intends the gift to support initiatives in the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health, which the College launched in September 2007.

The gift was announced at a celebratory lunch on campus Dec. 8.

Calling the endowment gift "incredibly generous" and "transformational," St. Catherine President Andrea Lee, IHM, expressed the College's "abiding gratitude and admiration for the foundation's thoughtful decision-making."

Making a difference in healthcare
In its first five years, the grant will fund Henrietta Schmoll School of Health program development, administrative costs, digital learning development and laboratory expansion. Among the measurable goals that the gift will help the College achieve:

  • An increase of 170 nursing students over the next five years in a program that routinely fills to capacity;
  • The launch of a physician assistant (PA) program focused on primary care, especially in impoverished areas;
  • Expansion of advanced practice nursing programs;
  • Enhanced online learning tools and
  • Expansion of nursing laboratories.

Other short-term goals for the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health include establishing clinical partnerships with health systems in and beyond the Twin Cities, including at least two Catholic healthcare systems with a strong presence in the Midwest.

"This generous gift allows us the resources to support faculty and curricular development, both of which will focus on addressing primary healthcare needs," said Margaret McLaughlin, dean of health professions and two-year programs.

The announcement of the anonymous gift came after Mass celebrating the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, with His Eminence Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, archbishop emeritus of Washington, D.C., presiding.

New name: Henrietta Schmoll School of Health
President Lee also announced that the School will now be known as the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health in honor of alumna Henrietta Schmoll, a 1949 graduate of the College and a trustee emerita who served on the board from November 1980 to December 1989.

Schmoll served as an honorary co-chair of the Campaign for St. Catherine in the early 1990s and established a scholarship fund in 1988 for "needy and deserving" Catholic women from south-central Minnesota, where she was raised. She also was part of the leadership circle for the comprehensive campaign "Leadership in Mind," which concluded in 2005 and raised a record-breaking $86 million.

Building upon more than a century of experience in healthcare education, as well as the legacy of the Sisters of St. Joseph in healthcare, the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health is the first of four schools to be named in the master academic plan for St. Catherine University. Other schools will be announced in June when the College officially changes its name. Those schools will focus on the liberal arts and sciences, business and leadership, and professional programs.

With 5,200 students, the College of St. Catherine offers 21 pre-professional and professional healthcare programs with a liberal arts core and designed to facilitate career "laddering" — allowing students to progress, for example, from an associate degree to a baccalaureate degree to a master’s or a clinical doctorate.

Currently, the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health offers three master's degrees (in nursing, occupational therapy and holistic health studies) as well as a Doctor of Physical Therapy and Doctor of Nursing Practice.

Nearly 40 percent of the total College student body is enrolled in healthcare programs at St. Kate's. Of those, 850 are enrolled in two-year programs, 815 in four-year healthcare programs and 350 in graduate programs. Forty-six percent of these students are the first in their families to attend college, and nearly 38 percent are students of color, with large representations from the African American, Hmong, Somali and Vietnamese communities.

Media coverage
A number of Twin Cities media outlets covered the story of St. Kate's largest gift, including the Minneapolis-based Star Tribune and the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

By Amy Gage
Dec. 29, 2008

Contact Amy Gage, (651) 690-6829

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