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Thanks, Mom

By Elizabeth Child

Mothers of daughters share one hope: That their girls will one day grow up to live full and purposeful lives. Many of them recognize that earning a college degree will help their daughters realize their dreams.

In recent years, several St. Catherine daughters have honored their mothers' dedication to their success by setting up endowed scholarships in their names — scholarships designed to help other Katies succeed.

Today, several St. Catherine students are benefitting from the helping hand of women such as Jane Keefe Clifford '45, Laura Lee Geraghty '66 and Professor Emerita Suzanne Hendricks. These dedicated mothers guided their daughters through successful college careers, and each has had a scholarship created in her honor by her grateful daughters.

Paying It Forward

Sheila Clifford Lind '69 concedes it took her and her sister Cathy Brennan '70 several years to gather the money needed for a tribute scholarship in honor of their mother, Jane Keefe Clifford. Clifford was Alumnae Association president in 1972 and 1973 and an elected trustee for a decade. She is now a trustee emerita and known for her ongoing friendship with Katies across the generations.

Lind says that Jane Keefe Clifford scholarships are meaningful to students. "It's often just enough to give students the push they need to come to St. Catherine," she explains. If donors are looking to honor a loved one's legacy, creating a scholarship is a great option, says Heather Kranz '93. She and her sister, Wendy Degler '91, endowed the Professor Suzanne Hendricks FCNS Scholarship Award in honor of their mother.

"A scholarship honors the person and leaves a lasting legacy through the individual who receives a scholarship to do great things in areas of study they’re passionate about," Kranz says. "The gift of an education is a powerful gift."

Degler and Kranz presented their mother with a named scholarship when she retired from the St. Catherine faculty in 2009. "We thought, 'Why not celebrate our mother while she is here and honor her contribution to the University?'" Degler explains.

Hendricks, affectionately called "Dr. Sue" by her students, taught fashion merchandising at St. Catherine for three decades and chaired the Family, Consumer and Nutrition Sciences (FCNS) department for 12 years. Her close connections with students were obvious to Degler when she was a girl, tagging along on campus. Today, Hendricks keeps up with students on Facebook and plays a key role in selecting fashion and apparel majors to receive the Professor Suzanne Hendricks FCNS Scholarship Award.

Connections made through scholarships can be uncannily moving. Degler tells of one scholarship recipient whose father died from diabetes and was struggling to pay for college. Similarly, Degler says, "Our father had diabetes for a long, long time. It always made us believe that time is precious and relationships are important."

When funders can't meet students directly to hear their stories, letters are the next-best thing. Brennan savors the letter received from this year’s Jane Keefe Clifford Scholarship recipient, Rachel Hayes '12. A studio art and French major, Hayes wrote that the scholarship helps make it possible for her to attend St. Catherine. When Clifford read the letter "she was overwhelmed and very excited," recounts Brennan, adding, "That's what we wanted — to honor her so she could see the fruits of the scholarship."

2012 Donor Luncheon

The 2012 Mother Antonia McHugh Scholarship Luncheon brought together donors and students recipients on April 12. Among the 200 participants were (from left): Mary Heinen '58, CSJ, Lindsay Roloff '13, Marie O;Neil '13, Jane Keefe Clifford '45, Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs Brian Bruess and Sheila Clifford Lind '69.

Why give?

The reasons for giving a named scholarship are twofold, according to Richard Beens, spouse of the late Laura Lee Geraghty '66: paying back and hope for the future. Beens spoke along with his daughter, Jennifer Beens Harper, at this year's Mother Antonia McHugh Scholarship Lunch in April. Donors and recipients often meet at the event.

Harper, a Mount Holyoke graduate dedicated to women's education, worked with her father to establish the Laura Lee Geraghty Scholarship for students needing financial aid after Geraghty's death in 2004. Harper’s biological mother, Lynn Baker Beens '66, passed away when Jennifer was a child, and Harper wanted to honor the mother who adopted her as her own.

As Beens and Harper spoke, their love and appreciation for Geraghty was palpable. President of the Alumnae Association from 1991 to 1993, Geraghty was a shining light at St. Catherine, able to inspire others to join her in supporting whatever she believed in — including the University. Beens says his wife had expressed interest in giving money back to St. Catherine, and the named scholarship is one way that he and his daughter are honoring Laura Lee's wishes.

St. Catherine has "a sense of mission I have never felt any place else," says Beens, who sits on the University’s Planned Giving Advisory Council. He believes strong women like his wife and daughter are an asset to the world.

The giving spirit of Hendricks, Clifford and Geraghty's contributions inspired their daughters with a similar desire. And their contributions, along with that of family and friends, support students' growth — allowing the spirit of giving back to continue through them.

 

Jane Keefe Clifford Scholarship
Jane Keefe Clifford '45; President of the Alumnae Association, 1973-1975; elected to the board of trustees, 1975-1984; appointed trustee emerita, 2006 to present; honord in 2005 as one of the Centennial 100 who has made a significant difference to St. Catherine.

Laura Lee Geraghty Scholarship
Laura Lee Geraghty '66: President of the Alumnae Association, 1991-1993; honored in 2005 as one of the Centennial 100 who has made a significant difference to St. Catherine

Professor Suzanne Hendricks FCNS Scholarship Award
Suzanne Hendricks, professor emerita; professor, Family, Consumer and Nutritional Sciences, 1981-2009; served as department chair, chair of the faculty and director of St. Catherine's Core Curriculum.