Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota recognized the generosity of a benefactor family and a philanthropic trust that have been longtime supporters of the university with the Heritage Award for Transformational Philanthropy on Oct. 12.

The two recipients of the award included the Riebenack Family – Walter, his late wife Mary Ann, and two daughters Kristen and Angela – and the Otto Bremer Trust.

The Riebenack Family

When Kristen began attending Saint Mary’s in the mid-90s to pursue a master’s degree in Philanthropy and Development, Walter and Mary Ann Riebenack began making contributions to the university. As a passionately inspired student and professional in the field of philanthropy, it was Kristen who encouraged them to take things a step further. As such, their first scholarship, The F. Walter and Mary Ann Riebenack Scholarship, was formed in 2003 to benefit students in the M.A. in Philanthropy and Development program.

Sadly, Kristen lost a battle with cancer in 2013. To honor her work, Walter and Mary Ann established a second scholarship, in 2015, the Kristen A. Riebenack Memorial Scholarship.

These scholarships have impacted the lives of every single recipient in deep and meaningful ways, supporting their dreams to pursue an advanced degree at Saint Mary’s.

The Riebenacks also funded the 10 Commandments monument on the Winona campus, lifting the Lasallian Catholic Heritage of the university.

Otto Bremer Trust

The Otto Bremer Trust is a private charitable trust based in Saint Paul. Created in 1944 by Otto Bremer, a dedicated community leader involved in civic, financial, and corporate life, the Otto Bremer Trust invests in people, places, and opportunities in our region.

The philanthropic relationship with Saint Mary’s University (then College) originated in 1981. The Otto Bremer Trust has since generously given over $1 million to support Saint Mary’s students, faculty, programming in ethical leadership, and its Lasallian mission.

The Otto Bremer Trust established two endowed funds in honor of inaugural trustee Lawrence A. Carr and his son-in-law and trustee Robert J. Reardon. The Robert J. Reardon Memorial Scholarship supports full-time undergraduate students of color on the Winona Campus with demonstrated financial need. The current Otto Bremer Trustees include Charlotte S. Johnson, Daniel C. Reardon, and Francis M. Miley. The daughter of Robert J. Reardon is Saint Mary’s alumnae, Catherine Reardon B’83.

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