A Century of GivingWith a family rooted in supporting St. Kate's, Florence Lenihan McHugh '51 and Jack McHugh carry on a beloved tradition.
BY SUZY FRISCH
FOR MORE THAN 100 years it's been a tradition in Florence Lenihan McHugh's family to support the College of St. Catherine. Her great-grandfather Hugh Derham donated funds to construct the school's first building, Derham Hall, and many family members have either attended or contributed to St. Kate's over the years.
After graduating in 1951 with a degree in music and a minor in French, McHugh stayed close to her alma mater. She served as president of the President's Council (now called the President's Forum) in the 1990s and chaired her 50th class reunion. She and her husband, Jack, honored Florence's golden reunion by donating a social lounge in the new residence halls.
Throughout the McHughs' 57-year marriage, Jack McHugh has recognized the enormous impact St. Kate's made on his wife's life – as a music teacher at St. Joseph's Academy, as the mother of their five children and through lifelong friendships she made on campus.
Now, the McHughs have become one of the pioneering benefactors of the new St. Catherine Scholarship. Launched in 2008, the scholarship program is part of the Annual Fund, which supports current needs of the College.
"We hope to help young women attend the College who otherwise wouldn't be able to attend," McHugh explains. "St. Kate's is a first-class institution, and it supports women. We're so glad that it's there."
The St. Catherine Scholarship allows benefactors to give $10,000 awards for students to use immediately toward tuition, room and board.
"These scholarships make college expenses that much more reasonable for students," says Senior Director of Gift Planning Pam McNulty. "This is a nice, substantial scholarship that covers about one-third of tuition, room and board."
Accessible to all
The McHughs made a five-year commitment to the St. Catherine Scholarship program. To make this type of aid more accessible to donors, St. Kate's permits up to four couples or individuals to fund one $10,000 scholarship.
Some donors, however, find the $50,000 price tag beyond their reach, and many students have to put together multiple awards to meet their needs. That makes the St. Catherine Scholarship an attractive option.
Recently, St. Kate's ranked first in the Midwest in the economic diversity of its students, according to the 2009 edition of "America's Best Colleges," published by U.S. News & World Report. More than 90 percent of the College's students receive some form of financial assistance.
"Our commitment to financial aid is consistent with our mission to make college accessible to everyone who has outstanding potential but doesn't have financial resources," says Sarah Berger, director of the Annual Fund. "These $10,000 scholarships will have a high impact on students."
Scholarships are an essential part of a financial aid award because they do not need to be repaid. "While our students are very responsible borrowers, it is important to provide a balance of scholarships and loans to ensure that our students graduate with a manageable level of student debt to repay," says Beth Stevens, associate dean of enrollment and director of financial aid.
Florence and Jack McHugh are especially pleased to help students attend a college that's known for educating women in a nurturing environment. Plus, Jack has another reason to love St. Kate's: His sister Patricia McHugh earned her nursing degree from the College.
Suzy Frisch is a Twin Cities–based freelance writer.
For more information about how you can make a difference in the lives of St. Kate's students, call (651) 690-6516 or (800) 945-4599, Ext. 6516, or visit stkate.edu/giving.
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