College of St. Benedict announces largest campaign in school history

The College of St. Benedict in St. Joseph launched the public phase of the $100 million “Illuminating Lives” campaign Nov. 15, according to a news release from the school. This campaign is the largest in the college’s history.

The largest component of the campaign is focused on growing the college’s endowment to provide perpetual scholarship support for students in order to improve access to higher education for low-income and first-generation students. Other priorities include increasing annual fund support to provide scholarships for students, improving learning by creating 21st-century classrooms and learning spaces, and providing new and updated athletic facilities.

In preparation for the public phase of the campaign, leadership gifts have already been received totaling over $75 million. More information about the campaign is available at, which is scheduled to be completed by June 30, 2020.

St. Ben’s received the largest single gift in its history, a $10 million gift to create the Center for Ethical Leadership in Action, as part of the “Illuminating Lives” campaign. A key function of the center is to promote the development of ethical leaders through experiential learning, which includes study abroad, undergraduate research, service learning, fellowships and internship experiences. When fully funded, the center will also offer educational programming and mentoring.

“Every bit as bright and accomplished as those who have come before them, today’s St. Ben’s students increasingly come from lower income families or may be the first in their family to attend college,” Mary Dana Hinton, CSB president, said in the release. “This means that, in order to continue to serve our students well, we must significantly increase the amount of money we are able to award for scholarships and other financial aid.”

“We want to make the full St. Ben’s experience viable for all students,” added Barb Melsen, campaign steering committee co-chair. “This means developing resources to underwrite study abroad opportunities, internships and student/faculty research.”

Founded in 1913 by Benedictine sisters, the College of St. Benedict is the only Benedictine college for women in the country.

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