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Philanthropic gifts fuel our work, advance our strategic plan

December 14, 2021

Newsletters>Cardinal Update

This past fiscal year, through the generosity of our alumni and friends, as well as the hard work of the Advancement team under the leadership of Gary Klein, we have received a number of inspirational and sizable gifts.

These gifts help the university advance its strategic plan and serve our students in the best way possible. As a university, we are grateful to those who so selflessly support this university because they support our mission, they had a wonderful experience and want to see others have that same experience, they believe in our work, and they understand we are a sound investment.

Here are just a few of their stories:

  • Bob Skemp ’49, a lifelong generous supporter, was inspired by a story in our alumni magazine about his classmate Robert Stiever ’49 and his wife Lucille Stiever, who left a $5 million estate gift to Saint Mary’s. Also wishing to leave a lasting legacy behind at Saint Mary’s, Mr. Skemp confirmed a $1 million estate gift toward scholarships and started an annual scholarship this fall.
  • Jack and Mary Ann (Wera) Remick CST’64 — who helped found the First Generation Initiative — recently made a $3.5 million five-year pledge toward scholarships for this transformational program.
  • We’ve recently also received over $1 million in motivational commitments toward the completion of Aquinas Hall, bringing the total raised thus far to nearly $8.5 million. We are extremely thankful for the generosity that continues to support this project.
  • Nancy Wiltgen ’75, former major and planned gifts officer in our Advancement Office, has pledged $150,000 in her estate gift for scholarships, the Saint Mary’s Fund, First-Generation Initiative, and the Education Department. As an alumna, Wiltgen was one of our pioneering first women, and in her previous position, she helped secure numerous planned gifts to support Saint Mary’s. She continues to lead by example through this thoughtful planned gift.
  • Walter Riebenack has given $100,000 to the M.A. Philanthropy & Development (P&D) program, which is being relaunched with the first cohort in 2023. The program is particularly meaningful to Walter as his daughter Kristen A. Riebenack graduated from this program in 1997 and worked in the field of Philanthropy for 16 years as a development director at the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne, Ind. Kristen lost her battle with cancer in 2013. Walter and his late wife Mary Ann established two endowed scholarships to support students in the P&D program.
  • A family that wishes to remain anonymous has gifted the university $1 million for men’s and women’s hockey. Their gift has been transformational to the program in making rink improvements, as well as acquiring new apparel and equipment.