A Shining Success Story

The Illuminating Lives campaign has been an epic story with more heroes than we can count. In the interactive timeline below, we’ve pulled together some of the most impactful chapters in the Illuminating Lives campaign’s journey to success. Look for videos, photo galleries and hyperlinks to dig deeper into some of our favorite stories.

2012
July
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Illuminating Lives campaign begins

On July 1, 2012, the first day of fiscal year 2013, gifts began counting toward our $100 million goal. (Pictured above: Barb Torborg Melsen ’78 and Tom Schlough, Illuminating Lives Campaign Co-Chairs) Thank you to all of our campaign volunteers! 
2013
April
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CSB kicks off year-long centennial celebration

Our 2013 commencement ceremony kicked off the centennial celebration for CSB – A Century of Connection. This significant moment in the college’s history served as the juncture between the first 100 years and the college’s next 100 years of women’s education.

2014
April
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Fleischhackers announce $2.5M gift in honor of Dr. MaryAnn Baenninger

The 10-year term of President Emerita MaryAnn Baenninger matches that of President Emerita S. Colman O’Connell ’49 for the longest in school history. Mark and Teresa Fleischhacker chose to honor those years of service – and how MaryAnn made the most of them – with a gift of $2.5 million.

July
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Mary Dana Hinton arrives as president

The Illuminating Lives campaign served as a backdrop for President Hinton’s six years leading Saint Ben’s. Her passion for improving access and for transformative inclusion – as well as her consistent efforts to strengthen and defend the liberal arts – guided and lifted up the campaign’s mission and priorities.
2015
May
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Establishment of SD2020 lays foundation for change

CSB/SJU Strategic Directions 2020 (SD2020) was a holistic, joint vision between the two colleges, outlining areas of focus for the five years between 2015 and 2020. The overarching goals of SD2020 included:

  • Create a leading and innovative liberal arts curriculum emphasizing preparation for life; and
  •  Meet the needs and aspirations and exceed the expectations of a 21st century student body
November
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Mullin named Rhodes Scholar

Rachel Mullin ’14 was one of 32 Americans to receive a 2016 Rhodes Scholarship. It was the third major academic award won by Mullin, who earned a Truman Scholar as a junior, and a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Award as a senior. Mullin said the Rhodes was an award “that I hadn’t considered very much,” but came to change her mind after realizing the Rhodes Scholarship would help her accomplish her dreams of working with refugees from around the world.

December
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Nursing suite renovation completed

We made a quantum leap forward in the experience of nursing students with a $2.5 million renovation to the nursing suite in the Main building. This renovation created the Schoenecker Nursing Education Suite on the fourth floor of the Main building and enabling state-of-the-art simulated learning.
2016
July
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CSB and SJU host the first Liberal Arts Illuminated conference

Nearly 200 college and university faculty members, senior administrators, trustees and higher education policymakers from across North America came to Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s to facilitate new pathways of opportunity, new partnerships and new opportunities to lead for the future of the liberal arts. Review Liberal Arts Illuminated conference program.

December
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Guatemala study abroad students create space for dialogue and change

While studying in Guatemala, a group of 16 CSB/SJU students participated in a course centered around a themed interactive performance style known as Theatre of the Oppressed. The CSB/SJU students chose racial and cultural tensions at CSB and SJU as their theme, and through the production, sought to explore those issues and create a forum for safe dialogue. After performing in Guatemala, students brought their work back for two performances on campus, and then repeated the Theatre of the Oppressed experience the next year.

2017
January
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Advocates for Inclusive Mentoring formed as student-led mentoring group

Historically underrepresented students at Saint Ben’s face a uniquely challenging set of circumstances. Recognizing the need to address those circumstances and strengthen these students’ personal development and leadership is key to their holistic inclusion. So Frida Alvarez ’17 and Bryanna Williamson ’17 concepted and piloted Advocates for Inclusive Mentoring (AIM). The AIM program pairs first-year, sophomore and junior mentees with senior mentors and continues to thrive today.

January
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$10 million gift creates Fleischhacker Center for Ethical Leadership in Action

An anonymous $10 million gift (the largest outright gift in the school’s history) created a permanent endowment fund that supports the operation of the Mark and Teresa Fleischhacker Center for Ethical Leadership in Action. Among the roles of the Fleischhacker Center is providing stipends that can make unpaid internships viable for students who couldn’t otherwise afford that option. Fleischhacker fellowships allow these students to participate in the full Saint Ben’s experience.
May
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Ground breaking on new athletic complex

Our objective of building confidence scored a major win with the development of a new athletic complex featuring soccer/lacrosse fields, softball fields, and intramural/multi-use fields. Thanks to generous support including $500,000 from the Coborn Family Foundation, Saint Ben’s can encourage all students to pursue athletics and wellness at their own level (varsity, club, intramural, recreational…).

June
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Ridgeways pay it forward for Student Accessibility Services

Sharon Pugil Ridgeway ’81 and her husband, Jim, say studying in the CSB/SJU community with the Benedictines has benefited three generations of their family. That’s why they decided to pay it forward, in a big way. Read more about Sharon and Jim’s commitment to breaking barriers and providing support so every student can take full advantage of the Saint Ben’s experience and reach her potential.

July
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Saint Ben’s ranked among top schools for promoting “The American Dream”

Striking recognition of our progress to date came from The New York Times’ College Access Index, which measures economic diversity and ranked Saint Ben’s 42nd in the nation – ahead of many flagship state institutions and private colleges boasting much larger endowments. According to the Times, the index “is based on how many low- and middle-income students colleges graduate and how much those students must pay.”
August
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Office of Experience & Professional Development (XPD) provides comprehensive path to career development

The reimagined XPD office empowers students to connect their aspirations with opportunities and translate their liberal arts education to achieve meaningful personal and professional lives. More focused internships and experiential learning means students are taking better advantage of the transformational opportunities they have here. Saint Ben’s students emerge ready for that first job out of college – and the next one.

September
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Saint Ben’s invited to join the American Talent Initiative (ATI)

ATI is a growing alliance of colleges and universities which aims to substantially expand opportunities for talented low- and moderate-income students. ATI members include places like Saint Ben’s, all of the Ivy League and some of the highest-enrolling undergraduate institutions in the country – all of whom graduate at least 70% of their students within six years.

October
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Kosobud honored at NCAA Woman of the Year banquet

Allison Kosobud was one of 30 women honored at the NCAA Woman of the Year banquet in Indianapolis, Ind. She was one of 10 women from Division III chosen for the top 30 who were honored at the banquet with their Division I and II counterparts.

November
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Dykhoff, Esker top-ranked ROTC nursing cadets

In 2018, approximately 170 ROTC nursing cadets received their commission in the Army and reported to active duty at hospitals across the world. At the top of that list was two College of Saint Benedict students and cadets. Becca Dykhoff ’18, a senior from Maple Grove, Minnesota, and Mary Esker ’18, a senior from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, ranked Nos. 1 and 3 on that list, respectively.

December
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CSB and SJU awarded $600,000 grant from Mellon Foundation

In 2018, Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s received a $600,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support initiatives focused on inclusive pedagogy and community building. The project is called Becoming Community, and its goal is to teach and enable CSB/SJU faculty, staff and students to become agents of change by preparing them to dismantle oppression rather than simply learning about oppression.

2018
February
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Launch of the Bennie Career Closet helps inner confidence shine on the outside

Business attire can be prohibitively expensive, especially for college students. The Bennie Career Closet allows students to “buy” (at no cost) a professional outfit for an interview or event. The closet is stocked solely by donations from Bennie alums and the community. (You can find out more about donating by emailing Marcia Mahlum, divisional operations officer for Saint Ben’s, at mmahlum@csbsju.edu.)

March
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Saint Ben’s receives rare service designation

The volunteer support that Saint Ben’s receives, and the ways we’re able to utilize that support, are humbling. It’s a distinctly Saint Ben’s phenomenon and explains why Saint Ben’s was the first college in the nation to receive the Service Enterprise designation from the Points of Light Foundation.

May
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Schoenecker Commons allows Main renovation

The Malone Welcome Center in Schoenecker Commons gives Saint Ben’s an inviting space for prospective students. And the renovated Main Building now houses key administrative operations. The renovated Main building functions as a 21st century academic hub, sustainably designed with respect to the building’s heritage. The Main now houses the Mathematics, Computer Science, Economics and Psychology departments in addition to Nursing. The dedicated space for STEM learning sends a message to current and future Saint Ben’s students: you belong and are welcome in these disciplines.

July
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CSB and SJU host the second Liberal Arts Illuminated conference

For the second time, Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s hosted higher education professionals from across North America in a broad-based effort to reframe the narrative surrounding the liberal arts. View Liberal Arts Illuminated conference program.

July
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We are Bennies

In the wake of Title IX, the emerging CSB varsity teams relied on trailblazing pioneers – our “Blazers” – to lead us into competitive athletics. Over 40 years later, a generation of women has grown knowing those fields are open to them. Today our student-athletes – varsity, club and intramural – let their lights shine on those trails. We are one team. We are Bennies.

September
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New Institutional Learning Goals unveiled

Institutional Learning Goals reflect an institution’s promise to its students. The “new” goals for Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s include: Think Deeply, Embrace Difference, Engage Globally, Serve Graciously and Live Courageously. Formalizing these goals was a key part of developing our dramatic new Integrations Curriculum.

November
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Club formed for first-generation students

More than 25% of the student body at Saint Ben’s and Saint John’s are first-generation students, meaning their parents do not have four-year degrees. Creating the First-Generation Organization is a step taken to provide resources for making sure students, especially first-generation students, succeed throughout college and adulthood.

November
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Campaign launches its public phase

On Nov. 15, 2018, the College of Saint Benedict launched and celebrated the Illuminating Lives at a kick-off event at Saint Ben’s.

2019
March
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Athletic fields and Schoenecker Commons were saluted by the Minnesota Construction Association

On March 6, the Minnesota Construction Association recognized two of their members at the 24th annual Awards of Excellence celebration for work done at Saint Ben’s. CSB was the only institution with more than one award-winning site.

March
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Bennie Conversations

Bennie Conversations: How She Shines is an initiative designed to capture the individual impacts of our collective light. Through alumna-to-alumna interviews, we hope to celebrate and preserve the moments that define a Bennie. The first Bennie Conversation was recorded in March 2019, which lit a spark for over 300 more conversations to be conducted throughout entirety of the Illuminating Lives campaign. Listen to those conversations and other sparks of Bennie illumination.  

April
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CSB graduate to take control at Best Buy

Corie Barry ’97 became the first female chief executive officer (CEO) of Best Buy Company in June. Barry is the fifth CEO of Best Buy in the 53-year history of the company was formerly the company’s chief financial and strategic transformation officer. Read more.

May
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Saint Ben’s receives grant for enhanced honors program

Furthering our objective to provide a leading liberal-arts education, the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded a highly competitive grant to support a new Saint Ben’s/Saint John’s honors program built on three pillars: the new Integrations Curriculum; a social change model of leadership; and experiential learning.

July
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Neisha Ford ’17 Earns Payne Scholarship

Neisha Ford ’17 is one of 10 people to receive a Donald M. Payne International Development Graduate Fellowship for 2019.

The Payne Fellowship provides up to $96,000 over two years for graduate school, internships and professional development activities. At the conclusion of the two years, the Payne Fellow will begin a career in foreign service with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

September
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Schmid illuminates welcoming plaza for prospective students

Judy Gretsch Schmid ’63 knows introducing new students to the College of Saint Benedict has the potential to change their futures. So, when she learned that a building renovation project would include space that welcomes our students, she wanted to get involved. Schmid pledged to name the plaza of the Guy and Barbara Schoenecker Commons project, which has become the inviting new front door of campus to the 4,000 prospective students and their families who tour the CSB campus each year. Each of these tours pass through the plaza, providing an ideal space for visitors to experience the warmth and beauty of Benedictine hospitality.

November
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Tracy Magooba ’20 Earns Pickering Fellowship

Tracy Magooba ’20 has been awarded a prestigious Thomas R. Pickering Graduate Fellowship from the U.S. Department of State. Chosen from over 800 applicants, Magooba was one of 30 recipients and will receive up to $37,500 annually for a two-year period to cover tuition, room, board, books, mandatory fees and a stipend.

November
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Volleyball reaches Elite Eight; Weiss Twins honored

    For the first time in more than a decade, the College of Saint Benedict volleyball team was one of eight teams in Division III still competing in the final week of the season. Hunter Weiss ’21 andMadison Weiss ’21 both earned AVCA First Team All-American honors as juniors. This marks the first time since 1990 that Saint Benedict volleyball has had two First Team All-American in the same year, and just the fourth time in program history. Additionally, Hunter was named the NCAA Elite 90 award winner. The Elite 90 award recognizes the true essence of the student-athlete by honoring an individual who has reached the pinnacle of competition at the national championship level in their sport while also achieving the highest academic standards. The award is given to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative GPA participating at the final site for each of the NCAA’s championships.

    December
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    Dryer Scholars

    Gifts to CSB and SJU from Janet Setter Dryer ’83 and Dan Dryer (SJU ’80) will create scholarship opportunities for graduates of Cristo Rey Jesuit High School.

    2020
    January
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    $11 million Stewart commitment is largest ever from alumna

    “I believe deeply in the power of a college for women to develop and nurture the leaders of our future,” said LeAnne Stewart ’87 of the gift that she and her husband John announced in January.

    February
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    First Athletics Give Day

    In February, Saint Benedict Athletics held their first-ever Athletics Give Day, and they hit their goal, because donors like you made the assist. Saint Benedict varsity and club teams rallied their families, alumnae and fans to sprint toward our 24-hour goal of 449 donors in support of 449 varsity and club athletes at Saint Ben’s. The day turned out to be a big win for Bennies with 466 total donors and $55,110 total dollars raised.

    March
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    Donors flood student emergency fund with generosity

    When the call came out to support Bennies left stranded or vulnerable by the COVID-19 pandemic, donors stepped up in a big way. More than $73,000 in gifts rolled in, and the Saint Ben’s Senate also made contributions to support their peers. The fund helped many students get back home safely (funding transportation, food and lodging) along with resources to support day-to-day living expenses and distance learning for those in need.

    April
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    Extending the Link’s “Bayt Jadeed: Seeking Home” wins Upper Midwest Emmy®

    Extending the Link (ETL), the student-run documentary group from the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John’s University’ McNeely Center for Entrepreneurship, was honored with an Upper Midwest Emmy® Student Production Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) Upper Midwest Chapter April 3.

    The group won in the College-Long Form: Non-Fiction category for its 2019 documentary “Bayt Jadeed: Seeking Home” (bayt jadeed means “new house” in Arabic).

    April
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    Valerie Doze ’21 Truman Scholar

    Valerie Doze, a native of Grand Forks, North Dakota who is a biochemistry and German double-major at CSB, was named a 2020 Truman Scholar April 15.

    Each winner receives up to $30,000 for graduate study. Scholars also receive priority admission and supplemental financial aid at some premier graduate institutions, leadership training, career and graduate school counseling and special internship opportunities within the federal government.

    June
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    Five CSB graduates to go abroad after earning Fulbright awards from two organizations

    Five College of Saint Benedict 2020 graduates earned “Fulbright” awards, but from two different countries and two different programs.

    Three graduates received awards as Fulbright English Teaching Assistants (ETAs), sponsored by the Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. In addition, two graduates received Fulbright Austria-United States Teaching Assistant positions through the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research.

    June
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    Endowment impact

    When this campaign kicked off, the College of Saint Benedict’s endowment stood at $43,210,239. When we closed the books on Illuminating Lives, the endowment held $89,100,000. That’s an amazing change of 106.2% over just a few years.
    June
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