Bill Hendrickson, a native of Plainview, Minnesota, received a bachelor’s degree from Saint Mary’s in 1939. He later earned his Ph.D. in Chemistry at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Hendrickson worked as a chemist and senior executive of American Home Products Corporation. He became chairman of St. Jude Medical Inc. and its first chairman emeritus.
Bill often commented that throughout his career, he was fortunate to work with and observe leaders who were ethical and who recognized the importance of developing leaders who posses high moral standards. The erosion of ethical leadership of some leaders in positions of authority led to his desire to help reverse this trend by establishing the Hendrickson Institute for Ethical Leadership.
In 1988, Bill and his wife, Jean, invited Saint Mary’s to partner with them to identify, encourage, nurture and develop creative, ethical and globally oriented leaders. The Hendricksons funded the Tomorrow’s Leaders University Scholarship Program at Saint Mary’s. The scholarship provides assistance to students who commit to a lifestyle characterized by good character. Tomorrow’s Leaders Scholars have provided society with well-rounded ethical leadership and, as graduates of Saint Mary’s, they are committed to playing a constructive role in creating an ethical society.
In 1994, the Hendricksons expanded their university scholarship program and established the Hendrickson Institute for Ethical Leadership at Saint Mary’s University in Winona, Minnesota. Over the years, the Institute has provided a variety of programming and training on ethical leadership, serving for-profit and non-profit organizations.
Bill and Jean Hendrickson furthered their commitment in 2003. Recognizing the need to nurture the development of young people of good character, they established the Tomorrow’s Leaders High School Scholarship Program. The scholarships provide incentives for high school students of good character to complete leadership and service projects within their schools and communities. This network of Midwestern high schools share a belief in nurturing and developing young, ethical leaders.
In 2007, the Institute was moved from Winona to Minneapolis with the opportunity to expand programming to reach the Twin Cities community. Saint Mary’s University and the Hendrickson Institute received an anonymous donation to establish an annual speaker series, the Hendrickson Institute for Ethical Leadership Forum, and an annual Award for Ethical Leadership.
Bill Hendrickson passed away December 4, 2009. The Hendrickson Institute continues to work with emerging and established leaders.