ALL IN: The Wilson Match

A Community for All

A pioneer in the education of women, Saint Mary’s College fosters an inclusive academic community where students discover and develop their talents as they prepare to make a difference in the world.

The Wilson Match challenges the College’s generous friends to provide opportunities for all students to fully engage in the vibrant Saint Mary’s College community. Extending a generous gift from the Wilson Sheehan Foundation, funds raised by The Wilson Match will impact generations of young women by reducing barriers that often disadvantage first-generation and low-income college students.

Student Center at night


Data on changing national demographics show that students of tomorrow are 10% more likely to be low-income; 19% more likely to be students of color, and 64% more likely to be first-generation college students. Saint Mary’s is already experiencing this trend:

are first-generation college students
are eligible to receive Pell grants (awarded to students from low-income households)

While scholarships and financial aid allow these students the opportunity to attend Saint Mary’s, their success is threatened by a lack of additional resources for academic and social thriving. Students often struggle to acquire items that are essential to engage fully in their studies and career preparation—laptop computers and other technology, interview clothing, and emergency medical and travel expenses. In addition, social and capstone events, such as parents’ weekends and football games come at a cost that is beyond what some students can afford. Therefore, instead of feeling included in the Saint Mary’s community, some students can feel like outsiders on their own campus.

Three smiling young women

Introducing The Office for Student Equity

As a community committed to human dignity, we are called to reduce the economic and social barriers to success for our students. Thanks to a transformative investment of $3 million from the Wilson Sheehan Foundation, Saint Mary’s College has established the Office for Student Equity.

The Office for Student Equity will provide programming and resources to serve first-generation and under-resourced students. Two new staff positions will provide oversight for a comprehensive plan to support these students with the goal of increasing retention and completion. This office will work closely with financial aid, student affairs, and multicultural student services to create a cohesive network of resources.

Wraparound services supported through the Office for Student Equity include, but are not limited to:

  • Laptops and repairs
  • Provisions for food over breaks
  • Winter clothing
  • Field trips with classes and co-curricular activities
  • Tickets for Notre Dame football games
  • Emergency travel
  • Professional academic conferences, seminars, and retreats
  • Medical expenses
  • Professional clothing for interviews, internships, and practica
  • Commencement regalia and family travel expenses

We look forward to shaping a community for all—where the students of tomorrow will be barrier-free as they discover and develop their talents and prepare to make a difference in the world.

– Katie Conboy, Ph.D.
Saint Mary’s College President

Women working in lab

Pie chart

ALL IN: The Wilson Match

In addition to an initial generous gift of $3 million, the Wilson Sheehan Foundation has issued a donor challenge: a one-to-one donor match of up to $2 million.

To realize the full vision of the Office for Student Equity, we seek to raise an additional $2 million by December 31, 2023. When we succeed, the Wilson Sheehan Foundation will match this with an additional $2 million. This total investment of $7 million will fully endow the Office for Student Equity.


Winter scene with student walking towards Le Mans Hall

Lorraine and Chris Wilson: Committed to Community​

Chris and Lorraine WilsonLorraine Sheehan Wilson ’85 and her husband Chris Wilson (ND ’85) met during their college years. Lorraine studied accounting at Saint Mary’s College and Chris studied government and business at the University of Notre Dame. Lorraine, a certified public accountant, practiced at Arthur Young, Citicorp and a small business before choosing to stay home to support their family. Chris began a career in finance at GE Capital, moved to a small private equity firm, and then to Stonehill Capital in 1994, where he continues to serve as a senior partner.

Lorraine and Chris established the Wilson Sheehan Foundation in 2012 as a way to act on their strong Catholic faith. The Foundation helps people elevate their quality of life in enduring ways. At Saint Mary’s, the Wilsons invested in scholarships for first-generation students during the College’s Faith Always, Action Now campaign. Through conversations with their scholarship recipients, Lorraine and Chris recognized the economic and social challenges their students faced despite generous scholarship support. Lorraine and Chris felt called to do more, and were inspired to invest in the Office for Student Equity so that all Saint Mary’s students can fully engage in the college experience and increase persistence to graduation.

Barriers faced by first-generation and under-resourced students are complicated. Together we can do more to help them succeed.

– Lorraine Sheehan Wilson ’85

all in

Carrie Cummins Mueller '92
Interim Executive Director of Development
(574) 250-3394