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Benefactor expresses support and $100 Million Challenge extension

Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota has continued to be blessed with generous benefactors and alumni during a tumultuous time in higher education. In 2023, at a time when many universities pointed to shrinking enrollments and struggling finances, Saint Mary’s celebrated a $25 million gift commitment – the largest in the university’s history. The anonymous donation was made with the intention to help revitalize the university, while encouraging and inspiring others to invest in its future with a challenge to secure contributions totaling $100 million and increase undergraduate enrollment numbers from 800 to 900 by May 31, 2024.

“Since the announcement, the Saint Mary’s community has been working tirelessly on both objectives and we have achieved good success, yet there is still work to be done,” said Gary Klein, vice president for advancement. “Graciously, and in good faith, the anonymous benefactor and his family have agreed to extend the deadline to reach both goals, as long as the university continues to demonstrate such continued progress.”

In the words of the benefactor, “We can ask for more and greater gifts, and our recruitment efforts will continue to be heightened, but we know that the decision-making timeframe is based on other benefactors and the potential student, not us. As long as our Saint Mary’s teams remain resolute in implementing their plans and we see advancement, we will hold to our commitment as partners in this effort.”

To date, Saint Mary’s has raised $40 million toward the $100 million goal with more than $80 million in requests in planning or pending. Recruitment has dramatically improved, up 33 percent for incoming students from fall of 2022 to fall of 2023. Enrollment is on pace, as planned, to exceed 900 full-time students at the Winona campus in the fall of 2026.

“We are genuinely grateful to have the support and trust of our generous benefactors,” Klein continued. We will continue to enthusiastically and fervently move forward to accomplish these milestones as swiftly as we can. Saint Mary’s is blessed.”

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