In a testament to her years of leadership as a commercial banking executive, Bridget Manahan ’78 outlines her reasons for giving back to her alma mater with remarkable clarity and depth.
“When I graduated,” says Manahan, “I walked into a very different business and commercial banking environment than that which exists in the Twin Cities today. There were far fewer women in commercial banking, and fewer yet in senior management positions or holding board seats. My St. Kate’s experience gave me an awareness of the market and the tools to compete.”
Manahan graduated with a degree from the St. Kate’s business department, which offered a women-centered approach to the curriculum. In addition to teaching students about navigating and understanding the market, the department’s pioneering educators helped women learn how to stake their claim as leaders in their careers and communities despite the realities of gender-based discrimination.
“The mission [of St. Catherine University] is important to me for a variety of reasons,” says Manahan. “We are living in an increasingly complex world, but St. Kate’s consistently provides students with an excellent educational foundation while fostering an environment that values and promotes leadership, equity, and inclusion.”
Manahan credits her time at St. Kate’s with cultivating the professional strengths that would help her build a rewarding and impactful career. However, the most meaningful lesson the University taught her was the importance of service, which has become a significant part of her life and a key personal value.
“When I graduated,” says Manahan, “I walked into the business world with everything I needed, and I started giving back as soon as I could. There are three considerations that motivate my giving: the value of my educational experience and career preparation, the personal relationships and treasured lifelong friendships from my time at St. Kate’s, and that, as a beneficiary of a Catholic education, I want that experience to be available to tomorrow’s students.”
Today, Manahan gives back to the University by supporting LEAD & INFLUENCE: The Campaign for the Next Level of Excellence. “I believe this campaign,” says Manahan, “is an investment in the future and an opportunity to build on the best of what St. Kate's has to offer. The University’s commitment to academic excellence, accessibility, and investment in our educators cannot be overstated. Providing resources to support that commitment is now more important than ever.”