Saint Mary's College Receives $6.2 Million Gift*

Largest Bequest in College’s History

Marjorie A. Neuhoff '61, pictured in 1961 yearbook
Marjorie A. Neuhoff '61


Media contact:
Gwen O’Brien
Director of Media Relations
Saint Mary's College
Notre Dame, IN 46556
(574) 284-4579

June 4, 2011 (Notre Dame, Ind.)—Saint Mary's College gratefully announces a gift of $4.7 million from the trust of Marjorie A. Neuhoff ’61. (UPDATE: The bequest was $6.2 million, when estate was settled.) It is the largest bequest in the 167-year history of this Catholic, women’s college. The gift will be used to establish endowments for a chair in nursing, a need-based scholarship, and the Summer Science Research Communities, all in Ms. Neuhoff’s name. The news comes on the heels of the March 26 announcement of the largest single private gift ever to the College—$9 million from philanthropists MaryAnn and Clayton Mathile, parents of alumna Jennifer Mathile Prikkel ’95. That gift, matched by a $1 million gift from Mrs. Prikkel, will fund an extensive renovation of Science Hall.

Ms. Neuhoff’s classmates celebrated her gift at the President’s Reception and Dinner for the Class of 1961 on Friday, June 3. The class is marking its 50th anniversary as part of Reunion Weekend.

“Marjorie A. Neuhoff, was a professional woman known for her business acumen. She also had a great love for Saint Mary’s. In her memory, and with the consideration of her family, we have invested her bequest in areas of the College where we see increasing student interest. Our hope is she would see these as sound investments in an institution with which she had a strong personal connection,” Saint Mary's College President Carol Ann Mooney said.

Ms. Neuhoff’s family, which includes her stepbrother Robert Dozier, said of the bequest, “The College’s Board of Trustees suggested her gift be allocated into three areas, and we feel Margie would readily agree to her bequest being used for those purposes. I think her gift expresses her strong sentiments toward Saint Mary's College more than any words I could offer.”

Ms. Neuhoff, who passed away in 2008, graduated from Saint Mary's College with a double major in business administration and economics. According to Mr. Dozier, the majority of the Roanoke, Virginia native’s career was spent in Atlanta working for Cox Broadcasting Corporation (1969-1983), where she was the personal secretary to Clifford Kirkland, who was chairman, president and chief executive officer.

“Marjorie’s generosity to Saint Mary’s has inspired admiration and fond remembrances from her classmates. It is clear that the College was in her heart for many years. Her magnanimous gift will have an impact on future generations of Saint Mary’s women. How perfect it is that the Class of 1961 is on campus for our 50th year Reunion and can celebrate her big heart and her vision for Saint Mary’s,” said Susan Fitzgerald Rice ’61, Ms. Neuhoff’s classmate and Vice Chair of the Saint Mary's College Board of Trustees.

The bequest will fund endowments for the creation of the following.

The Marjorie A. Neuhoff Nursing Chair

The Marjorie A. Neuhoff Nursing Chair will be established through $2 million of the Neuhoff bequest. The endowed chair, which will always be occupied by the Director of the Department of Nursing, will advance the Department of Nursing through visionary leadership and scholarly work. The chair holder will promote interdisciplinary collaboration, the development of faculty as teacher scholars, and help recruit a new generation of faculty leaders in the Department of Nursing. This person will play a major role in developing potential new programs of study. Advanced degree programs would enable the College to better serve the public’s health needs by expanding what the Nursing program does best—educating nurses with a foundation in nursing science, strong clinical skills, and the liberal arts and Catholic teachings that gives them a unique perspective on caring for those in need.

The inauguration of the Marjorie A. Neuhoff Nursing Chair will be held in the fall and Director of Nursing Linda Paskiewicz, Ph.D., will be installed as the first chair holder.

“The Department is grateful for this generous bequest given in recognition of the power of nursing as a profession,” Dr. Paskiewicz said. “The prestige of this new chair will elevate the reputation of the Nursing program. An endowed chair is associated with scholarly productivity for both faculty and students.”

The Marjorie A. Neuhoff Scholarship

A significant portion of the Neuhoff gift, $1.7 million, will be used to establish the Marjorie A. Neuhoff Scholarship. The endowed scholarship will help meet the growing needs of students and their families to afford college and ensure that more students have the opportunity to deepen their knowledge, hone their skills, and shape their moral and religious values through a Saint Mary's education. This scholarship, available starting in the 2013-2014 academic year, will ensure that the College continues to attract the best and the brightest students.

The Marjorie A. Neuhoff Summer Science Research Communities

The Marjorie A. Neuhoff Summer Science Research Communities will be established through $1 million of the Neuhoff bequest. This program will allow students to conduct faculty-led research in close collaboration with their peers from across the sciences. The endowment will provide annual funding for stipends for three students, stipends for three faculty members, materials and equipment, and travel to conferences where students can present their research findings. 

“We have wanted to develop a more interdisciplinary approach between the science fields, and this program, now that it is funded, will give us the opportunity to more fully explore some of the connections between fields,” said Professor Christopher Dunlap, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Physics. “It will also allow our departments to offer our students even more opportunities to conduct scientific research, with projects that develop independence and a deeper understanding of what it means to be a scientist. This initiative will further strengthen the strong foundation that our programs provide for our students.”

Professor Nancy Nekvasil, Ph.D., Chair of the Department of Biology added, “We have had many students in the past take advantage of summer research at other institutions. But with funding for the Summer Science Research Communities, we can offer our students the opportunity to be part of a team of scientists right here at Saint Mary's College. A student will not only be able to complete her research while working closely with a faculty mentor, she will be able to experience the richness of being a part of a science community where ideas are exchanged and science teamwork comes alive.”

The Marjorie A. Neuhoff Summer Science Research Communities will commence in the summer of 2013.

CLICK TO SEE NEWS COVERAGE.

*The bequest was originally announced as a $4.7 million gift to the College, but once her estate was settled, the gift became $6.2 million.

About Saint Mary’s College: Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Ind., is a four-year, Catholic, women’s institution offering five bachelor’s degrees and more than 30 major areas of study. Saint Mary’s College has six nationally accredited academic programs: social work, art, music, teacher education, chemistry and nursing. Saint Mary's College ranks among the top 100 “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” in the U.S. News & World Report 2011 College Guide. Founded in 1844, Saint Mary’s is a pioneer in the education of women, and is sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Cross.