January 12, 2017
An anonymous donor has committed a $10 million gift to the College of Saint Benedict (CSB) to create the Center for Ethical Leadership in Action. A key function of the Center will be to increase students' opportunities for experiential learning, which include study abroad, undergraduate research, service learning, fellowships and, often most influentially, internship experiences. This is the largest single gift in the college's history.
The gift will create a permanent endowment fund, which will fund the operations of the Center, including the support of experiential learning as well as a mentoring program and speaker series. Internships and other experiential learning opportunities will be carefully designed to support the formation of ethical women leaders in a variety of fields from business to medicine to education and beyond.
"We are grateful for the donors whose vision and generosity have created the Center," said CSB President Mary Dana Hinton. "It positions us as a leader among liberal arts colleges nationally in developing women's leadership capacity, ethical decision-making, self-confidence and career readiness."
The establishment of the Center is especially important as increasing numbers of Saint Ben's students do not have the financial wherewithal to afford an unpaid internship or other experiential learning. The Center for Ethical Leadership in Action will have the resources to offer stipends to students for whom these experiences would otherwise be out of reach. CSB, and its academic partner Saint John's University, require that every student complete four credits of experiential learning as part of the core curriculum. The college plans to begin awarding stipends as early as summer 2017.
Providing financial support such as this is a key goal in the college's five-year Strategic Directions 2020 plan. In addition to supporting internships and other experiential learning opportunities, the Center will create a mentoring program and host speakers designed to promote the development of ethical leaders.
"Having the Center will enable us to focus our educational programming and opportunities on ethical leadership, which has always been central to our mission," said Richard Ice, CSB/SJU Provost.
"Saint Ben's is overwhelmed by the generosity of this gift," said Kathy Hansen, vice president of institutional advancement at Saint Ben's. "The donors have a long-standing appreciation for the quality education their daughter received at Saint Ben's and a respect for ethical leadership that was nurtured by their parents. They're driven to see all Saint Ben's students receive the internships, research and service opportunities that will build character and form ethical leaders."