Gift funds First Gen program and endows management chair

A $3.25 million gift to SJU from the estate of an SJU alumnus will help fund a new program targeting first-generation students and also endow a chair in management.

The program, First Gen, aims to increase the number of first-generation students at Saint John's through targeted recruitment and scholarships, and by providing them with the academic and student support services they need to excel at SJU.

Ralph Gross '65 graduated from SJU with a degree in economics. After graduate study, he became a CPA and later became owner of a successful plumbing supply business in the Twin Cities. He died unexpectedly after a short battle with cancer. SJU was the primary beneficiary of his estate. 

From his donation, $1.25 million has been designated as the Ralph Gross Scholarship Fund for first-generation college students. The remaining $2 million will be used to create the Ralph Gross Chair in Management to attract a senior professor in the management department.

Fr. Bob Koopmann, SJU president, expressed his gratitude for the gift.  

"I was absolutely delighted to learn that Ralph's family recommended that Saint John's dedicate his estate for these two important purposes" he said. "In each instance, Ralph's gift will enable Saint John's to address a strategic priority at Saint John's, and it will help us transform lives through the power of education."  

First Gen began in January with a $2.5 million grant from the Frey Foundation. An additional $2.5 million has been raised toward a goal of $25 million.

(October 12, 2010)