Largest Gift Ever Propels Illuminating Lives Campaign

LeAnne Matthews Stewart
LeAnne Matthews Stewart ’87

Before the College of Saint Benedict even announced its Illuminating Lives campaign, LeAnne Matthews Stewart ’87 was onboard with her support.

As a longtime trustee of the college and an early member of the campaign steering committee, she saw the numbers. She heard the stories. She understood the need. And, as a proud alumna, she knew personally the profound impact a residential, liberal arts, Benedictine college for women can have.

In late January, Stewart and her husband John announced that they would be backing up that support with an incredible commitment of $11 million.

The gift is the single largest in the school’s 107-year history – as well as the largest gift ever from an alumna. The Stewarts created the gift from their estate plan in order to grow the college’s endowment by supporting scholarships, experiential learning and other programs.

According to President Mary Dana Hinton, “LeAnne is a Bennie who uses her voice in support of others, and who is generous in sharing her wisdom, experiences and financial resources to allow all women to receive the benefits of a CSB education.”

Stewart is chief financial officer for Axia Women’s Health, and has had a tremendously successful business career. “I believe deeply in the power of a college for women to develop and nurture the leaders of our future,” she said. “The College of Saint Benedict is a very important philanthropic commitment for us, and our gift is dedicated to providing access to the Saint Ben’s experience.” This is a watershed moment for CSB. The Stewarts’ impressive gift brings the total raised in the Illuminating Lives campaign to over $107 million – exceeding the ambitious $100 million overall goal.