The College of Saint Benedict announces largest campaign in college history

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November 15, 2018

women with candles

The College of Saint Benedict launched the public phase of the $100 million Illuminating Lives campaign on Thursday, Nov. 15. This campaign is the largest in the college’s history, and the college celebrated the launch with two events on campus, which included students, faculty, staff, donors and friends of the college.

The largest component of the campaign is focused on growing the college’s endowment to provide perpetual scholarship support for students, in order to improve access to higher education for low-income and first-generation students. Other priorities include increasing annual fund support to provide scholarships for students, improving learning by creating 21st century classrooms and learning spaces, and providing new and updated athletic facilities.

In preparation for the public phase of the campaign, leadership gifts have already been received totaling over $75 million. Campaign events will be taking place throughout the next year, engaging donors and alumnae across the country. More information about the campaign is available at, which is scheduled to be completed by June 30, 2020.

Saint Ben’s received the largest single gift in its history, a $10 million gift to create the Center for Ethical Leadership in Action, as part of the IIluminating Lives campaign. A key function of the Center is to promote the development of ethical leaders through experiential learning, which includes study abroad, undergraduate research, service learning, fellowships and, often most influentially, internship experiences. When fully funded, the Center will also offer educational programming and mentoring.

“Every bit as bright and accomplished as those who have come before them, today’s Saint Ben’s students increasingly come from lower income families or may be the first in their family to attend college,” said Mary Dana Hinton, CSB president. “This means that, in order to continue to serve our students well, we must significantly increase the amount of money we are able to award for scholarships and other financial aid.”

“We want to make the full Saint Ben’s experience viable for all students,” added Barb Melsen, Campaign Steering Committee co-chair. “This means developing resources to underwrite study aboard opportunities, internships and student/faculty research.”

An all-campus celebration for students, faculty, staff and the monastic community took place at Schoenecker Commons. This event included gourmet s’mores around fire pits on the patio, painting of the campaign mural honoring the pillars of the Saint Ben’s education and a brief program.

A private event for donors occurred at Gorecki Center with a reception of student showcases, painting of the campaign mural and student musicians, and a program featuring CSB President Mary Dana Hinton, student speaker Lesly Gonzalez-Barragan, a junior political science and theology double-major from St. Paul, Minnesota, and a performance by the Saint Ben’s Women’s Choir.

Founded in 1913 by Benedictine Sisters, the College of Saint Benedict is the only Benedictine college for women in the country. A nationally-ranked liberal arts college, Saint Ben’s is frequently cited as one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation and one of the schools doing the best job of providing access to higher education to all women, regardless of background. The College of Saint Benedict designs programs to meet the needs and aspirations of young women. The college fosters integrated learning, exceptional leadership for change and wisdom for a lifetime.